Once again, BP will pay the largest fine in OSHA history, breaking its own previous record. But, the oil giant also faces a half-billion dollars in additional costs as part of its settlement with the federal safety agency.
The fines are in connection to the 2005 explosion at BP’s Texas City, TX, refinery that killed 15 workers and injured 170.
BP had already paid $21 million in fines for that explosion. In the original settlement, BP also agreed to identify and correct certain safety deficiencies.
In a 2009 follow-up inspection, OSHA found the company made many changes but “failed to live up to several extremely important terms of that agreement,” according to OSHA.
As a result, OSHA issued $87.4 million in penalties against BP. Originally, $56.7 million was levied for BP’s failure to abate hazards it said it would fix in the original agreement. Another approximately $30 million was for new violations. OSHA found it had assessed 29 duplicate violations totaling $6.1 million. That brought the failure-to-abate fines down to $50.6 million.
So BP has agreed to pay the entire $50.6 million for the failure-to-abate fines. It is still contesting the $30 million in new violations.
On top of the fine, BP has agreed to allocate a minimum of $500 million to take immediate steps to protect those now working at the refinery.
BP has also agreed to:
- perform safety reviews of the refinery equipment according to set schedules
- hire independent experts to monitor its efforts, and
- submit quarterly reports for OSHA’s review.