Senators question BP's safety culture

Members of a Senate subcommittee last week criticized BP's safety culture, questioning whether the company has made strides in improving workplace safety in light of numerous high-profile incidents, including the recent Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion that killed 11 workers.

The July 22 hearing before the Senate Health Committee's Employment and Workplace Safety Subcommittee had only one witness -- Steven Flynn, BP's vice president of health, safety, security and environment. For more than two hours, Flynn attempted to deflect accusations that his company has not done enough to protect workers.

Flynn testified that since the 2005 Texas City refinery explosion that killed 15 people and the 2006 Prudhoe Bay oil spill in Alaska, BP has made safety its highest priority and developed a new global agenda to carry it out.

Senators continually questioned BP's progress, bringing up recent allegations of worker safety concerns being stifled and shortcuts taken at the Deepwater Horizon rig, as well as the large number of citations, fires, deaths and injuries that have occurred at BP sites in recent years.

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