BP's Not so Awesome Safety Record
Did you know that BP Plc (NYSE:BP) has 760 OSHA violations while competitor Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) only had one?
How is BP even allowed to operate? Remember the big Alaskan pipeline debacle in 2007? That was BP. Or what about the refinery that blew up in 2005? BP once again. And the worst part is, they were fined $86 million for not fixing the problem that caused the 2005 refinery disaster.
Masters, I was thinking about picking up some BP shares on the cheap but after reading this article, I'm thinking twice:
As the nation comes to grips with the worst oil disaster in its history , there is evidence BP has one of the worst safety track records of any major oil company operating in the United States.
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In two separate disasters prior to the Gulf oil rig explosion, 30 BP workers have been killed, and more than 200 seriously injured.
In the last five years, investigators found, BP has admitted to breaking U.S. environmental and safety laws and committing outright fraud. BP paid $373 million in fines to avoid prosecution.
BP's safety violations far outstrip its fellow oil companies. According to the Center for Public Integrity, in the last three years, BP refineries in Ohio and Texas have accounted for 97 percent of the "egregious, willful" violations handed out by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The violations are determined when an employer demonstrated either an "intentional disregard for the requirements of the [law], or showed plain indifference to employee safety and health."
OSHA statistics show BP ran up 760 "egregious, willful" safety violations, while Sunoco and Conoco-Phillips each had eight, Citgo had two and Exxon had one comparable citation.
Failure to Act
After a 2005 BP refinery explosion in Texas City, Texas that killed 15 people and injured 180, a Justice Department investigation found that the explosion was caused by "improperly released vapor and liquid." Several procedures required by the Clean Air Act to reduce the possibility of just such an explosion either were not followed, or had not been established in the first place.
BP admitted that its written procedures to ensure its equipment's safety were inadequate, and that it had failed to inform employees of known fire and explosion risks. The company paid $50 million in criminal fines in connection with that disaster, and acknowledged violating the Clean Air Act.
Jordan Barab, the deputy assistant secretary of Labor for OSHA, said BP refineries have a "systemic safety problem," and that the tragedy in BP-Texas City "revealed serious process safety and workplace culture problems at the facility."
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