Federal agencies Oil and gas

10 years after BP Texas City explosion, CSB and OSHA say more must be done

CSB BP Texas City

Photo: Chemical Safety Board

Washington – On March 23, the 10th anniversary of a deadly BP refinery explosion in Texas City, TX, OSHA and the Chemical Safety Board separately reflected on what must be done to better prevent similar tragedies.

Fifteen workers were killed and nearly 200 were injured in the 2005 blast, which was caused by an ignited vapor cloud that formed from an eruption of flammable liquid hydrocarbons.

A poor safety culture that ignored warning signs, a deficient process safety management program, and the use of obsolete equipment all contributed to the BP blast, CSB states in a new video.

These deficiencies also were present in other CSB-investigated refinery disasters, including a 2010 Tesoro refinery explosion and a 2012 Chevron refinery fire, the agency said. CSB is calling for more regulatory oversight, the development of comprehensive process hazard analyses, and analysis of the effectiveness of safeguards used to control hazards.

In a separate message posted on the Department of Labor blog, OSHA assistant administrator Jordan Barab said the recent refinery explosions “each repeated a lesson that the industry should have already learned.”

Further, Barab noted that OSHA’s Process Safety Management Standard is more than 20 years old; the agency currently is revising the rule with the help of stakeholder input.