Ten years after BP’s Texas City disaster, safety gaps remain
The US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released a safety message yesterday to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the accident at the BP refinery in Texas City, Texas, that killed 15 workers and injured 180 others. In the message Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso emphasizes the need for continued safety improvements across industry in order to prevent similar accidents from occurring.
CLICK HERE to view the safety message
The disaster one decade ago at BP Texas City was the most serious refinery accident ever investigated by the CSB. The CSB’s final investigative report into the incident, released in 2007, found organizational and safety deficiencies at all levels of the BP Corporation. The report also noted gaps in standards and practices that likely still exist today, contributing to other serious accidents over the last decade. In response, Chairman Moure-Eraso states in the safety message that “The CSB believes that current federal and state regulations do not focus enough on preventative measures or on continuously reducing process risks. “
The gaps in existing federal and state regulations were cited in recent CSB investigations including the April 2, 2010, explosion at the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, Washington, and the August 6, 2012, fire at the Chevron refinery in Richmond, California. In both investigations the CSB concluded warning signs regarding a potential accident were overlooked for years leading up to the catastrophic events. However, in both cases the CSB found that federal and state process safety management regulations do not explicitly require the kinds of preventative measures that may have stopped the accidents from occuring.
To encourage changes to existing federal and state regulations nationwide, the Board has included process safety management reform on the CSB’s list of most wanted safety improvements.
The safety message concludes with the following call by Chairperson Moure-Eraso, “It’s been ten years since the terrible accident at the BP Texas City refinery. Industry and government alike should increase their efforts to prevent process related disasters. Workers, the public, and companies will benefit.”
The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating serious chemical accidents. The agency's board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems.
The Board does not issue citations or fines but does make safety recommendations to facilities, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA. Visit our website, www.csb.gov.