BP will implement safety panel's recommendations

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: workplace safety

BP p.l.c. on January 16 announced that it will implement the recommendations made by an independent safety review panel as part of the company’s continuing effort to improve its safety culture and to strengthen and standardize process safety management at BP’s five U.S. refineries.

BP already has taken a number of actions which align with the recommendations of the BP U.S. Refineries Independent Safety Review Panel and will, after a more thorough review, develop plans for additional action at its U.S. refineries and for applying lessons learned elsewhere.

In a report made public on January 16, the panel identified material deficiencies in process safety performance at BP’s U.S. refineries and called on BP to give process safety the same priority BP has historically given personal safety and environmental performance. The panel made recommendations for improving BP’s process safety leadership, systems, expertise and oversight of process safety performance.

The panel, led by former U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker III, was appointed by BP Group chief executive John Browne in October 2005 on the recommendation of the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB). BP is cooperating with the CSB in its investigation of the March 23, 2005 explosion and fire at the Texas City refinery that claimed the lives of 15 workers and injured many more.

“I want to thank Secretary Baker and the other panel members for their effort, their insights and their recommendations,” Browne said. “We asked for a candid assessment from this diverse group of experts and they delivered one. We will use this report to enhance and continue the substantial effort already underway to improve safety culture and process safety management at our facilities."


The panel acknowledged the company’s efforts stating that “since March of 2005 BP has expressed a major commitment to a far better process safety regime, has committed significant resources and personnel to that end, and has undertaken or announced many measures that could impact process safety performance at BP’s five U.S. refineries.”


The panel also said that making dramatic change in large companies is difficult in short time frames and that the ultimate effectiveness of the actions taken or planned by BP could only be determined over time.

“Many of the panel’s recommendations are consistent with the findings of our own internal reviews,” said Browne. “As a result, we have been in action on many of their recommendations for a year or more. Our progress has been encouraging but there is much more to do. Members of our refining leadership team will be meeting with the panel within the week to address how best to implement these recommendations.

“I share the panel’s confidence in BP’s refining workforce. They are, as the panel stated, ready, willing and able to participate in a sustained effort to move BP toward process safety excellence. As I told the panel, I intend to ensure BP becomes an industry leader in process safety management and performance. We will want to do everything possible to prevent another tragedy like the one that occurred at Texas City.”

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