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• Information Date: 08/12/2010
• Speaker: Jordan Barab

REMARKS OF JORDAN BARAB
DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF LABOR FOR THE
OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION

OSHA ANNOUNCES BP AGREES TO RECORD PENALTY AND
MAJOR SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS AT TEXAS CITY, TEXAS
REFINERY


Thank you Madame Secretary. I just want to take a few minutes to go into a bit more detail before opening it up to questions.

First, I want to re-emphasize what Secretary Solis just said. By reaching this agreement, BP is accepting an unprecedented level of oversight over key aspects of their process safety management system at the Texas City refinery.

This gives OSHA far more insight into the safety procedures and critical systems at the plant than would have been achievable even if we had won the lawsuit.

I want to highlight three major areas:

First, OSHA will have full access to BP's safety management systems and we will closely monitor their progress. The United Steelworkers union, which represents workers at the plant, will also participate in this process.

  • BP will provide OSHA with detailed quarterly progress reports.
  • Independent third party experts will audit BP's progress in meeting the agreement's requirements and provide the results of those audits to OSHA
  • The Texas City Refinery Business Unit Leader and the OSHA Area Director will meet regularly to review progress and to discuss any issues. In addition, the OSHA National Office and BP upper corporate managers will meet annually.
  • OSHA will conduct frequent and regular on-site inspections to monitor abatement and progress, as well as other inspections as part of its normal enforcement activities

The second area I want to highlight in the agreement is the scope of work that BP is committing to timely implementation in order to address the problems at the plant.

  • The agreement requires BP to complete pressure relief and layer of protection analyses of all of the equipment in all of the refinery's 28 process units according to definite schedules and to take interim measures to protect employees from any risks of catastrophic releases discovered in the pressure relief and layer of protection analyses including, if necessary, shutting the process down.
  • The agreement requires BP to install safety-instrumented systems (SISs) to control serious hazards and to correct pressure relief deficiencies according to definite schedules.
  • BP is required to provide OSHA with firm schedules for completing abatement beyond the period of the agreement.
  • BP will allocate at least $500 million to abate hazards in the plant

Finally, I want to emphasize that if BP fails to meets its obligations, OSHA has a variety of remedies at hand. OSHA may issue additional FTA notices and willful violations for any failures to comply with the agreement or for failure to adhere to firm schedules for completing abatement beyond the period of the agreement. And OSHA can unilaterally terminate the Agreement if BP does not act reasonably and in good faith to comply with the terms of the agreement.


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