Tuesday, July 05, 2005

BP's Bottom Line OK; Not So For Workers

Well, we can all breathe a big sigh of relief. It seems that the Texas City BP Amoco explosion that killed 15 workers and injured 170 won't hurt the giant energy company's bottom line -- even with the tens of millions of dollars of settlements already paid out to the families of dead workers.:
Energy giant BP said in its annual financial report that it does not expect settlements paid to victims of the Texas City refinery explosion to substantially affect its bottom line for next year.

The 500-page report, which details the London-based company's $285 billion in revenue and $17 billion in profit for 2004, includes just one paragraph about the March 23 blast.
Of course everyone isn't happy, including the hundreds who suffered serious injuries such as broken backs and lost limbs, and their lawyer. According to Rob Ammons, a Houston lawyer who represents more than 100 the BP plaintiffs:
"It appears they are taking their moral standards from the balance sheet, which has become the soul of this corporation," Ammons said.

"What concerns me the most is that out of a 500-page report of the company's standing, only one paragraph mentions this tragedy that took these lives," he said.

"BP says this is only going to affect them for one quarter. But the victims and the neighbors and the taxpayers in this community have to live with this damage for the rest of their lives."

Ammons said that he would not be surprised if future reports disclose that BP has had to set aside up to $1 billion to cover its losses.
Also on the "not amused" list is the United Steelworkers who represent the plant's employees, including several who were fired when BP claimed that the explosion was the fault of "deeply disturbing" mistakes by the workers. Despite BP's casting of blame on its employees, the US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board revealed last week that several alarms and other equipment had failed on the day of the explosion. The Steelworkers are demanding that BP rehire the workers it fired:
After learning that several key pieces of process instrumentation malfunctioned prior to the March 23 explosion at the BP refinery here, the United Steelworkers (USW) is demanding that BP apologize and put back to work with back pay the operators it blamed for causing the explosion. "BP continues to hold onto the stubborn belief that this tragic incident wouldn't have occurred if the operators and their supervisors had followed procedures," said USW President Leo W. Gerard. "How could they perform their jobs adequately if the equipment they were depending on wasn't functioning properly?"


"The Chemical Safety Board's findings support what we've been saying all along: that mechanical failures and an improperly designed system had more to do with the cause of the explosion than human error alone," said Region 6 Director Gary Beevers. "BP needs to apologize to the employees it fired and bring them back to work. They've been punished enough."