BP Fines Mount to $84 Million at Texas City

     HOUSTON (CN) – BP will pay the United States another $13 million for safety violations at its Texas City refinery that exploded and killed 15 workers, OSHA said Thursday, bringing to $84 million the total fines issued to that plant.
     The fines stem from the March 2005 explosion at the refinery, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said in a statement.
     OSHA fined BP $21 million in September 2005 and BP agreed to identify and fix deficiencies at the refinery.
     During OSHA’s follow-up investigation in 2009, it found BP had improved but had not corrected several problems, leading OSHA to issue 270 failure-to-abate notices, the agency said.
     OSHA also cited BP for 439 willful violations of its process safety management standard that year, including “failing to follow industry-accepted engineering practices for pressure relief safety systems,” OSHA said.
     BP agreed to pay a $50.6 million penalty in 2010 to resolve the failure-to-abate notices, OSHA said.
     “Under today’s agreement, all violations covered in this settlement have been corrected or will be corrected by Dec. 31, 2012, using the procedures established under the 2010 agreement,” OSHA said. “Under the 2010 agreement with OSHA, independent third-party experts provided oversight of BP processes for relief and safety instrumented system evaluation, as well as quarterly progress reports on BP’s activity.
     “The 2010 agreement also required BP to hire independent experts to monitor BP’s efforts and obligated the company to allocate $500 million to ensure safety at the Texas City refinery. “Of the 439 October 2009 willful citations, all but 30 are settled by this agreement.”
     OSHA said the 30 unresolved citations involve “BP’s failure to protect certain pressure relief valves.”

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