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
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.