The severely crippled oil company BP – one of the largest gas companies – has consented to pay an unprecedented fine of Â£32.5 million for ignoring grave safety concerns at its
Texas City refinery where 15 people died as a result of an explosion in 2005. This is the largest fine ever to be levied by the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Part of the US Labor Department, OSHA noted that the sentence “rightly reflects BP’s disregard for workplace safety”.
The Texas refinery is the third-largest refinery in the
United States. Apart from the 15 who were killed, more than 170 workers were injured as a result of the fire and explosion. BP was subsequently held accountable for criminal violations relating to federal environmental laws. And the company has also been subjected to lawsuits from the families of the victims. An investigation after the accident revealed numerous faults in equipment, maintenance and inspection, risk management, general health and safety assessments, working culture at the site and so on.
The company had initially paid a $21.3m fine to OSHA in 2005. According to a four-year agreement, BP was responsible for repairing the safety threats identified at the plant. In 2007 the oil giant had further agreed to pay $373m for settling quite a few criminal as well as civil charges. As per this latest agreement between BP and OSHA, the company has to spend a further $500 million over six years for fixing safety problems at the plant.
This is the latest debacle to strike the UK’s largest corporation after the recent oil spill off the
Gulf of Mexico which has severely contaminated the marine life, affected the wildlife and fisheries industry in the region. Attempts to cap the slick and contain the leak have been going on since April, making this the largest oil spill offshore in the entire history of the