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Biggest Fine of OSHA to BP of $87M for Texas Refinery Fix

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration imposed the largest fine in the history as it slapped British Giant BP with an $87 million penalty for workplace violations in connection with the 2005 Texas City blast in which 15 people were killed and 170 people were injured according to the reports on 30th October’09.

According to reports, a person who is close to the company said it was considering an appeal to the decision according to the reports.

The fine marks to be the latest in a series of big legal cost in connection with the explosion. BP (BP58.43, -0.10, -0.17%) two years ago moved to pay a $50 million criminal fine. It was the biggest charged under Clean Air Act.

Then the new fine comes on top of a $21 million OSHA payment in year 2005. It also settled thousands of civil claims which were related to the blast.

BP said that it was disappointed with OSHA’s citation. According to published reports OSHA said, “We believe our efforts to improve the process of safety performance have been among the most strenuous and comprehensive that the refinery industry has ever seen”.

The latest fine stems from the settlement agreement which BP entered with OSHA in 2005, when the company vowed to remove potential hazards which were similar to those that caused refinery blast.

BP has referred the matter to the Occupational Health and Safety Review Commission, a body independent of OSHA.

OSHA has issued BP with 271 notifications for non-compliance with a total of $ 56.9 in fine. The levies also included $31 million in the category of “willful violations” of process safety management.

Hilda Solis who is the Labor Secretary charged BP with allowing “hundreds of potential hazards to continue unabated”.