BP criticised for neglecting its accident safety in Deepwater

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The Independent Online

BP failed to pay attention to major areas of potential danger on its oil rigs, according to a new report into the Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed 11 people and unleashed America's worst oil spill.

While the British company focused on the prevention of day-to-day injuries to its personnel, it paid little heed to what the US Chemical Safety Board called "process safety" problems that could lead to catastrophic accidents.

The lack of sustained focus on process safety in the run-up to the Deepwater Horizon blast in April 2010 bore an "eerie resemblance" to the 2005 explosion at the BP Texas City refinery which killed 15, said CSB investigator Cheryl MacKenzie.

"The emphasis on personal injury and lost work-time data obscures the bigger picture: that companies need to develop indicators that give them realistic information about their potential for catastrophic accidents."

BP said it was improving its analysis of these risks in response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The CSB, which has no powers to fine or discipline companies but does issue safety recommendations to the oil industry, also said BP paid less attention to safety procedures on its wells when they were operated by contractors.

The Deepwater Horizon was operated by Transocean, which was also criticised in the report.