Two BP refineries not only account for 97% of all "flagrant" violations in the U.S. refining industry, but most of the violations cited were classified as "egregious willful," according to a Center for Public Integrity investigation of Occupational Safety and Health Administration records.
In other words, BP's problems go way beyond the Gulf Oil Spill resulting from the April 20 explosion on the Transocean Deepwater Horizon rig, which killed 11 workers and imperils marine life throughout the Gulf of Mexico. (Ever wonder why it's called the Gulf Oil Spill?)
BP's problems date back at least to 2005, when the BP refinery explosion in Texas City, Texas claimed 15 lives. When OSHA began an investigation of the industry in 2007, though, it found BP stood apart from its counterparts in the industry, with 872 serious safety violations 97% of all serious safety violations in the industry since 2007, according to the Center for Public Integrity analysis of OSHA data. What's more, these violations happened at just two BP refineries, in Texas City and in Toledo, Ohio. (Data runs through February 2010, and is restricted to refinery safety violations, so it does not account for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.) Here's a look at how those violations breakdown:
Most violations came, according to the Center for Public Integrity, because BP failed to fix the problems identified as the cause of the 2005 Texas City refinery explosion. What does that say about BP's ability to reform following the Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill?
"The only thing you can conclude is that BP has a serious, systemic safety problem in their company," Jordan Barab, deputy assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, told the Center for Public Integrity.
Here's another look at the BP refinery safety violations:
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