Tuesday, November 08, 2005

BP Texas City Before March 23

The record $21 millin OSHA fine was paid by BP for citations following a March 23 explosion at the BP refinery in Texas City, TX which killed 15 people, and injured about 70. There’s probably an inside story at OSHA. But before March there was a serious OSHA history.

OSHA’s website reveals the following.

The facility was inspected based on a “referral” starting in March 2004. OSHA issued 14 serious citations for violations of the Process Safety Management standard (29 CFR 1910.119). This standard requires management to analyze processes for hazards which could cause explosions. Citations were issued in August 2004, with proposed penalties of $63,000. BP contested the citations. On a date unspecified, OSHA dropped 9 of the citations, and reduced the proposed penalty to $13,000. According to the OSHA website, this case remains open.

The facility was again inspected following an accident, starting September 2, 2004. According to press reports, a pipe burst, killing two and injuring one. On February 25, 2005, OSHA issued one willful violation for lockout, with a fine of 70,000, and 7 serious violations totally 39500, for a total proposed penalty of $109,500. One of the serious citations was for process safety management violations. OSHA’s website says all penalties were contested March 21, 2005; some of these violations were claimed to be abated in March, 4 months after the incident.

Press reports mentioned a death from a fall in May, 2004. No inspection appears in OSHA’s records related to that.


BP: Texas Plant 'Safe,' Death Toll at 15
March 24, 2005 2:31:00 PM ET

TEXAS CITY, Texas (Reuters) - BP Chief Executive John Browne said the company's Texas City, Texas, refinery ``a very safe plant'' on Thursday as the death toll in Wednesday's explosion there climbed to 15.

It was the third fatal accident at the mammoth plant in the 12 months. A worker died in a fall last May, and two were killed and one injured in September when scalding hot water burst from a pipe.

A large explosion and fire also occurred last March 30, although no deaths or serious injuries were reported.
``It is a very safe plant,'' said Browne, who rushed to Texas following the blast. ``I think these events are unrelated, but there have been a few and we regret each one.''

In addition to the dead, 70 workers in the plant and 30 people in nearby areas were injured by the powerful explosion that shook buildings and broke windows several miles away.


March 31, 2005, 11:27AM
Witnesses saw gas eruption before blast
Liquid and vapor may have been touched off by car engine or other ground source
By TOM FOWLER, DINA CAPPIELLO and KEVIN MORANCopyright 2005 Houston Chronicle
A geyser of liquid and vapor shot out of a 100-foot-tall ventilation tower at BP's Texas City refinery just seconds before an explosion last week that killed 15 people.

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