CSB Chairman Finds 'Striking Similarities' In Two BP Accidents

U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) Chairman Carolyn W. Merritt on May 16 told members of a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee that she found "striking similarities" between the causes of the fatal BP accident in Texas City, Texas, in 2005, and the company's pipeline failure at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, in 2006, which resulted in the leakage of more than 200,000 gallons of oil.

CSB did not investigate the Prudhoe Bay accident, but Merritt was asked by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight to review a BP internal audit of the accident completed by Booz Allen Hamilton. Merritt told the subcommittee, "Virtually all of the seven root causes identified for the Prudhoe Bay incidents have strong echoes in Texas City." She added that these included the "significant role of budget and production pressures in driving BP's decision-making and ultimately harming safety."

In further comparisons, Merritt told the committee, which is chaired by Rep. Bart Stupak (Michigan), of safety culture similarities at Texas City and Prudhoe Bay. In Prudhoe Bay, Booz Allen Hamilton found "a normalization of deviance where risk levels gradually crept up due to evolving operating conditions." This compared, she said, to Texas City, where at BP's refinery "[a]bnormal startups were not investigated and became routine, while critical equipment was allowed to decay. By the day of the accident, the distillation equipment had six key alarms, instruments, and controls that were malfunctioning. Trailers had been moved into dangerous locations without appropriate safety reviews."

Similarly, Merritt noted BP's own internal audit findings concerning its Prudhoe Bay pipeline problems faced "long delays in implementation, administrative documentation of close-out even though remedial actions were not actually taken, or simple non-compliance."

For more information visit www.csb.gov.

Download Center

  • Safety Metrics Guide

    Is your company leveraging its safety data and analytics to maintain a safe workplace? With so much data available, where do you start? This downloadable guide will give you insight on helpful key performance indicators (KPIs) you should track for your safety program.

  • Job Hazard Analysis Guide

    This guide includes details on how to conduct a thorough Job Hazard Analysis, and it's based directly on an OSHA publication for conducting JHAs. Learn how to identify potential hazards associated with each task of a job and set controls to mitigate hazard risks.

  • A Guide to Practicing “New Safety”

    Learn from safety professionals from around the world as they share their perspectives on various “new views” of safety, including Safety Differently, Safety-II, No Safety, Human and Organizational Performance (HOP), Resilience Engineering, and more in this helpful guide.

  • Lone Worker Safety Guide

    As organizations digitalize and remote operations become more commonplace, the number of lone workers is on the rise. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies. This guide was created to help employers better understand common lone worker risks and solutions for lone worker risk mitigation and incident prevention.

  • EHS Software Buyer's Guide

    Learn the keys to staying organized, staying sharp, and staying one step ahead on all things safety. This buyer’s guide is designed for you to use in your search for the safety management solution that best suits your company’s needs.

  • Vector Solutions

Featured Whitepaper

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - May 2022

    May 2022

    Featuring:

    • WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY
      How Wearable Technology is Transforming Safety and the Industrial Workplace
    • TRAINING: CONFINED SPACES
      Five Tips to Improve Safety in Confined Spaces
    • INDUSTRIAL HYGIENE
      Monitor for Asbestos to Help Save Lives
    • PPE: FALL PROTECTION
      Fall Protection Can Be Surprising
    View This Issue