What the investigators said

Carolyn Merritt, CSB chairwoman

● “The combination of cost-cutting, production pressures, and failure to invest caused a progressive deterioration of safety at the refinery”

● “Beginning in 2002, BP commissioned a series of audits and studies that revealed serious safety problems at the Texas city refinery, including a lack of necessary preventative maintenance and training. These audits and studies were shared with BP executives in London and were provided to at least one member of the executive board”

● “Rules already on the books would likely have prevented the tragedy in Texas City. But if a company is not following those rules, year-in and year-out, it is ultimately the responsibility of the federal government to enforce good safety practices before more lives are lost”

● “Process safety programmes to protect the lives of workers and the public deserve the same level of attention, investment and scrutiny as companies now dedicate to maintaining their financial controls”

● “OSHA (US regulators) should obtain and dedicate whatever resources are necessary for inspecting and enforcing safety rules at oil and chemical plants. These facilities simply have too many potentially catastrophic hazards to be overlooked”

Don Holmstrom, CSB supervisory investigator

● “The investigation found that BP executives made spending cuts without assessing the safety impact of those decisions“

● “Many of the safety issues that led to the March 2005 accident were recurring safety problems that had been previously identified in internal audits, reports and investigations”

● “Our findings show that both BP Group executives and Texas City managers became aware of serious process safety problems at the refinery beginning in 2002 and continuing through March 2005“

● “In 2004, BP documents do show that maintenance spending increased, but we found that the increases were largely due to complying with environmental requirements and responding to major accidents and outages. There was still not an adequate focus on preventative maintenance before accidents occurred”

Mark Kaszniak, CSB investigator

● “If the Process Safety Management standard had been thoroughly implemented at the refinery, as required by federal regulations, this accident likely would not have occurred”

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