Thursday, June 23, 2005

BP Pays Off, Big and Fast

Poor BP Amoco. The bad news was that the March 23 explosion killed 15 workers and injured 170 at its Texas City refinery. But the worst news was that the people it killed were contractors who were employed by another company. That means that instead of the dead workers' families just getting some paltry workers comp payments, they are eligable to sue BP. After years of failing to heed the warning of its employees and OSHA to upgrade its plant and make it safer, the company was not anxious to meet the families of the dead in court. So they decided to pay, big and fast:
BP has agreed to pay several of the families of those killed in the deadly Texas City refinery explosion tens of millions of dollars each to settle wrongful death claims, sources familiar with the cases said.

Attorneys representing those families would not confirm or even discuss the settlement amounts, citing confidentiality agreements with the oil behemoth. Neither would BP officials.

But the attorneys acknowledged that after just a few weeks of talks, many of the cases in recent days have settled with BP agreeing to generous payments.
There are some lessons here. First, listen to OSHA and your employees when they warn you about unsafe conditions. Second, if all else fails and you blow up your plant, make sure you kill you own workers and not someone elses.

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