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OSHA fines BP $87m for failing to fix refinery

Associated Press / October 31, 2009

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WASHINGTON - The Occupational Safety and Health Administration yesterday imposed a record $87 million fine against oil giant BP PLC for failing to correct safety hazards after a 2005 explosion killed 15 workers at its Texas City refinery.

The fine - the largest in OSHA’s history - comes after a 6-month inspection revealed hundreds of violations of a 2005 settlement agreement to repair hazards at the refinery.

BP officials formally contested the fine.

OSHA said the company also committed hundreds of new violations at the nation’s third largest refinery by failing to follow industry controls on pressure relief safety systems and other precautions.

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said if the problems are not addressed, it “could lead to another catastrophe.’’

The company said most of the alleged violations relate to an ongoing disagreement between OSHA and BP that is already pending before the Occupational Health and Safety Review Commission, a body that is independent of OSHA.