BP Texas blast blamed on unsafe culture

AN UNSAFE culture at energy giant BP was behind a deadly explosion at its massive Texas oil refinery in 2005, the head of the main government body investigating the accident has reportedly said.
BP Texas blast blamed on unsafe culture BP Texas blast blamed on unsafe culture BP Texas blast blamed on unsafe culture BP Texas blast blamed on unsafe culture BP Texas blast blamed on unsafe culture

An explosion at BP’s Texas City refinery on March 23, 2005, killed 15 workers and injured about 180 others in what was the worst US industrial accident in decades.

Reuters reported that the US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is due to unveil its final draft report into the explosion today.

Since the accident, the London-based oil company has settled a number of lawsuits related to the explosion, one of several incidents that have called into question safety practices at BP.

“As the investigation unfolded, we were absolutely terrified that such a culture could exist at BP,” Reuters quoted CSB chairman Carolyn Merritt as saying in a speech to the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association conference in San Antonio.

Merritt said the problems at BP were similar to those seen by the CSB in the past 10 years as safety programs fall victim to corporate cost-cutting.

“In order to fix a problem, you’ve got to accept that you’ve got a problem,” Merritt said.

Reuters quoted Merritt as saying that many of the companies that have come under CSB’s scrutiny like BP tend to make safety audits into “superficial paperwork exercises”.

BP has previously said that an internal report found serious problems with the safety culture at Texas City and also identified the factors leading to the tragedy there.

It has since said it is addressing the safety culture issues across the company.

An advisory panel led by former US Secretary of State James Baker found dangerous conditions at all five of BP’s US refineries and recommended an overhaul to safety procedures across the US refining sector.

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