Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: In light of the disaster earlier this year, BP says safety and risk management are the company’s “most urgent priority.”
The oil company is setting up a new global safety division to improve risk management and safety and review how the company manages agreements with contractors in the wake of the explosion that killed 11 workers and spilled almost 5 million barrels of oil into the ocean.
For a moment, flash back to 2006, one year after an explosion at BP’s Texas City, TX, plant killed 15 workers and injured more than 180.
John Browne, then the chief executive of BP, said this, “This is not good stuff. We’re going to take action.”
Already, experts who watch the industry are skeptical.
Pavel Molchanov, an energy analyst with Raymond James & Associates told The New York Times that it would take time to determine whether creation of the safety division is more than just “window dressing.”
One thing that BP plans to review is interesting because it’s something that’s also caught the attention of OSHA’s administrator.
New BP CEO Robert Dudley plans a review of how BP creates incentives for business performance to find out how it can encourage employees to improve safety.
OSHA’s David Michaels has said, repeatedly, that company safety incentive programs cause employees to hide hazards.
Meanwhile, there’s good news and bad news if you’re looking for change at BP.
The bad news first: Two workers were seriously burned recently by a steam release at BP’s Texas City refinery, the same location where 15 workers were killed in 2005.
The good news: The incident caused BP to put the plant into a safety standdown. All nonessential personnel spent most of the day in safety review meetings.
However, it seems to follow a pattern set previously by BP: Safety receives more emphasis after workers are killed or injured.
What do you think? Is BP serious about safety this time, or is it more “window dressing?” Let us know in the Comments Box below.