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BP Fined $13 Million over Texas City Refinery Safety Violations

Posted By Arnold & Itkin LLP || 16-Jul-2012

Yes, it's really happening again—BP will have to pay another substantial fine over even more safety violations that occurred at its Texas City oil refinery plant, the largest facility of its kind in the country. This time, the bill comes in at $13 million, and will resolve 409 of the 439 citations issued against the facility by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 2009.

Since a March 2005 explosion at the Texas City refinery, an accident in which 15 people were killed, BP has had numerous problems complying with OSHA safety standards. In September 2005, the company was fined $21 million for the safety violations which allowed the tragic explosion to occur. The company also agreed to enter into an agreement which required it to identify the problems that had allowed the safety breach to occur and to correct those process deficiencies.

In spite of entering into this agreement, a 2009 follow-up investigation conducted by OSHA revealed that BP had still failed to correct numerous problems. They were given 270 failure-to-abate notices and, in 2010, paid a penalty of $50.6 million dollars because of their inability to fix operations at the plant.

During that same 2009 visit, OSHA cited BP for a whopping 439 willful violations of safety rules governing the appropriate handling of hazardous chemicals. One of the worst offenses was the refinery's failure to follow industry mandated engineering practices for pressure relief safety systems. At one point, BP was facing a fine of over $30 million to settle these citations, but the negotiated $13 million payment will resolve all but 30 of the company's infractions.

Even with these citations mostly behind them, BP is not in the clear yet. In June 2012, almost 45,000 Texas City residents sued the company, claiming that they were made ill by an emissions event in 2010 which released close to 4 million pounds of toxic chemicals into the areas surrounding the plant over a 40 day period.

What is particularly upsetting about these safety violations is that they occurred during and immediately following a period when BP was ostensibly stepping up safety controls at the refinery. Between 2005 and 2009, BP spent over $1 billion making safety and infrastructure improvements at the Texas City plant; apparently, it wasn't enough to keep their employees and neighbors safe.

When refinery operators like BP show such blatant disregard for safety, they can and should be held accountable for any injury that occurs in or around their facilities. If you or a loved one suffered an injury while working at a dangerous facility like the Texas City BP oil refinery, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our office today for a free consultation.

Categories: Refinery Accident

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