On March 23, five years after the terrible explosion at BP’s Texas City refinery, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis issued the following statement remembering the 15 workers who were killed and the many others who were injured in that tragic event:
“As we’ve seen from my department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s recent enforcement actions, BP still has a long way to go to ensure the safety of its employees and those of the contractors who work in its refineries.
“Today and every day, I hope that the entire petrochemical industry is fully and actively dedicated to worker health and safety at all American refineries and chemical plants. I hope that the industry is reminded today to examine and improve safety systems and their corporate safety culture. These measures should include looking at how their organizations address safety issues, the extent of management commitment and worker participation in improving safety systems, the adequacy of training and maintenance, and the use of leading indicators like close calls to gauge the safety of their facilities.
“The Labor Department is doing its part to ensure the safety of America’s refineries and chemical plants. OSHA is entering the final stages of a comprehensive National Emphasis Program that has examined most of the nation’s refineries and, where necessary, initiated action to compel elimination of hazards in many of them. In addition, OSHA has also initiated an NEP for the chemical industry with the ultimate goal of preventing catastrophic incidents that can injure and kill employees and affect entire communities.
“The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to strong enforcement of OSHA standards and technical assistance to companies to help them achieve safe environments for their workers and surrounding communities.”