BP Agrees to $13 Million Dollar Settlement

BP has been cited with hundreds of violations and fined millions of dollars in the past seven years by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).The first incident came in 2005 when BP’s Texas City plant exploded killing fifteen workers and injuring 170 others. The $21 million settlement nearly doubled the largest fine in OSHA history. BP also agreed to corrective actions to eliminate potential hazards similar to those that caused the 2005 tragedy.

In 2009, OSHA issued BP $87,430,000 in proposed penalties for the company’s failure to correct potential hazards faced by employees. For noncompliance with the terms of the 2005 settlement agreement, BP has been issued 270 “notifications of failure to abate” with fines totaling $56.7 million.

OSHA also cited 439 new willful violations for failures to follow industry-accepted controls on the pressure relief safety systems and other process safety management violations with penalties totaling $30.7 million. OSHA defines a willful violation as one that exists where an employer has knowledge of a violation and demonstrates either an intentional disregard for the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act of 1970, or shows plain indifference to employee safety and health. Each willful violation can carry a fine of up to $70,000.

In 2010, BP paid a penalty of $50.6 million to resolve the failure-to-abate citations from 2009 and also agreed to take steps to protect those now working at the refinery by allocating $500 million to that effort. The agreement also provides for a level of oversight of BP’s safety program including regular meetings with OSHA, frequent site inspections and the submission of quarterly reports for the agency’s review.

Recently, OSHA and BP have resolved 409 of the 430 citations and BP agreed to pay $13,027,000 in penalties and is likely to abate the existing thirty violations by the end of 2012. The Secretary of Labor, Hilda L. Solis, said, “Protecting workers and saving lives is the ultimate goal of this agreement. For the workers at BP’s Texas City refinery, this settlement will help establish a culture of safety. The workers who help keep our nation’s oil and gas industries running deserve to go to work each day without fear of losing their lives.”

Pulgini & Norton, LLP attorneys have handled workers’ compensation claims for over 25 years in and around Boston and its surrounding areas. If you or a family member has been injured at work and would like to seek legal assistance, please contact us at (781) 843-2200 or (888) 344-2046 or email us.

Cited Sources:

BP agrees to pay more than $13 million and abate violations in settlement agreement with US Department of Labor, The Sacramento Bee, July 12, 2012

BP agrees to pay more than $13 million and abate violations in settlement agreement with US Department of Labor: Penalty stems from citations for more than 400 process safety management violations cited at Texas refinery in October 2009, Occupational Safety & Health Administration, July 12, 2012

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