If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.



Osha Fines BP a Record $21 Million

Settlement resolves alleged safety violations linked to deadly blast at Texas City refinery

by Glenn Hess
September 23, 2005

BP Products North America has agreed to pay a record $21.3 million fine for safety violations that led to an explosion at the company’s Texas City, Texas, refinery complex in March, killing 15 workers and injuring more than 170 others. The penalties are part of a settlement agreement announced on Sept. 22 by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) and company officials.

"We know this settlement can never replace the lives that were lost or comfort the families that were devastated by this tragedy,” said Jonathan L. Snare, acting assistant secretary of labor for OSHA. “But the agreement means that BP Products employees will be working in safer facilities because BP will be making the necessary safety and health upgrades.”

The agreement resolves more than 300 separate alleged violations of federal safety regulations. In addition to the fine, which is nearly double the next largest penalty in OSHA history, the settlement also requires BP to make extensive plantwide improvements in process safety management, maintenance, and training.

OSHA said a fire in the isomerization unit, which occurred when a cloud of hydrocarbon vapors ignited during start-up, caused the explosion. An interim report released by BP in May blamed the blast on “a series of failures by BP personal.”

Under the agreement, BP did not admit to the alleged violations or agree to the way OSHA has characterized them. “We fully endorse the corrective actions required by the settlement,” said Ross J. Pillari, president of BP Products North America. “We will apply what we learned from this and other investigations to make the Texas City refinery a safer place.”

BP said it has taken a number of steps to improve safety at the complex and has appointed three new managers. The company has set aside $700 million to compensate victims of the explosion.



This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.