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BP agrees to pay more to settle charges after workers' deaths

Workplace safety is a growing concern for the American public and has become a pretty big concern for an oil industry giant as well. BP has agreed to contribute even more money toward a settlement reached with the government after facing allegations of multiple safety violations.

These allegations came about in the wake of a 2005 explosion that killed 15 workers. The company had allegedly failed to fix many of those violations intended to decrease the risks of workplace injury in company refineries. Colorado readers may remember that BP also faced controversy after an extensive oil spill in 2010 in the southeast.

BP had already paid some $50 million to make up for some of the OSHA violations levied against the company in the 2005 oil explosion. It will now chip in another $13 million toward governmental penalties levied against the company. The company had faced over 700 violations from OSHA. Now, all but 30 of those violations have apparently been resolved, thanks to this settlement.

Of course, that $63 million is a drop in the bucket compared to the fact that the company has also paid some $2 billion to settle lawsuits and pay off other fines tied to the 2005 explosion. Reportedly, BP has also paid out another $1 billion to improve safety and infrastructure at their Texas City refinery. That is in addition to repairs totaling some $500 million made at the behest of OSHA.

The company reportedly still has a lot of work to do to further lower the risk of workplace injury at the refinery where that 2005 explosion took place. One step they are supposedly taking is to install a sophisticated system that will help shut down or at least control future leaks.

Colorado companies that have been fined by OSHA similarly to BP will hopefully take this story to heart and take their own steps toward increasing workplace safety. Those who do not may well find themselves facing government penalties and increased workers' compensation liability for employees injured on the job due to company failure to provide a safe working environment.

Source: Daily Reporter, "BP agrees to pay another $13 million in fines over fatal 2005 Texas refinery explosion," Sam Hananel, July 12, 2012

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