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May 3, 2011

Does safety milestone at BP Texas City refinery signify a turnaround?

Scott Jenkins

In 2005, an explosion at the BP Texas City refinery facility killed 15 and injured an additional 180. At the time, it was considered to be the worst industrial accident in 16 years, and continues to top the list. While the incident was expected to serve as a wakeup call for the facility management, workplace deaths continued for at least three years following the 2005 event. And, as late as October 30, 2009, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued $87,430,000 in proposed penalties — the largest in OSHA's history — to BP for the company's failure to correct potential hazards faced by employees.

With that history in mind, it is particularly noteworthy that during the first quarter of 2011 over one million worker-hours were completed at the BP Texas City Refinery without a single recordable injury, according to AltairStrickland (La Porte, Tex.;, the process-plant turnaround subcontractor-of-record for the facility. The total number of work-hours completed injury-free is equivalent to 500 people working for one year. AltairStrickland, a process plant turnaround engineering, management and maintenance company, began providing turnaround services at the BP Texas City refinery at the beginning of 2011.

Among the services provided by AltairStrickland is safety training, which often exceeds 16 hours per person and includes Computer Based Training (CBT) conducted at AltairStrickland’s ACE training center and the facility of the Safety Council of Texas City (SCTC). Zero Injury Safety Leadership Concepts were delivered via classroom and CBT training modules for crafts, foremen, superintendents, project managers and safety specialists. The modules explain the roles and responsibilities that each individual fulfills in a culture to avoid at-risk behavior where zero injury is the daily outcome.

As of March 20, 2011, well over one million (1,078,437) of work hours had been completed with zero Bureau of Labor Statistics or OSHA recordable Injuries. This record is a first ever for this number of hours worked recordable injury-free by AltairStrickland.

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