BP to Pay Record $50M Fine Over 2005 Explosion

Blast killed 15 at Texas refinery
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 12, 2010 2:39 PM CDT
BP to Pay Record $50M Fine Over 2005 Explosion
In this March 25, 2005 file photo, steam released from the BP oil refinery floats across part of the plant in Texas City, Texas.   (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, file)

Beleaguered oil giant BP has agreed to pay a record $50.6 million fine for failing to correct safety hazards at its Texas City oil refinery after a 2005 explosion killed 15 workers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said it is still working to collect another $30 million from BP Products North America for other penalties the company is contesting. OSHA officials have blamed the explosion on a piece of equipment that overfilled with flammable liquid hydrocarbons. Alarms and gauges that were supposed to warn of the overfill did not work properly.

"The size of the penalty rightly reflects BP's disregard for workplace safety and shows that we will enforce the law so workers can return home safe at the end of their day," said Labor Secretary Hilda Solis. While the fines pale compared to the billions BP is committed to paying out for damages caused by the massive oil spill in the Gulf, it stands as the largest penalty issued in OSHA's history. (More OSHA stories.)

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