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BP guilty of “corporate scapegoating”
Could BP care less? Oil giants BP and Shell provide two shocking examples of how even record fines can be a drop in the ocean to profit-rich British companies. [20 May 2005]
USA: BP fined over S1.4m for safety violations UK multinational BP has been hit by fines of $1.42m (£763,000) for safety violations on its Prudhoe Bay oilfield in Alaska. [22 January 2005]
Clean and green or industry whitewash? Oil company BP has received more plaudits for its corporate responsibility - despite facing continuing criticism for its safety and environmental record over the last year. [20 March 2004]
Officially bad A series of management failures were responsible for life-threatening accidents at BP's Grangemouth complex, an official report has found. [22 August 2003]
Worldwide Fund for Nature's UK arm (WWF-UK) is selling all its BP shares
in protest at its "slipping ethical standards". [5
Investment firm drops BP from its ethical fund after finding safety and
Another worker dies One man was killed and two others injured while working on a high-pressure pipe at BP Exploration Alaska's North Slope. [3 January 2003]
BP is named as Britain's top safety offender - and is given a safety award.
How BP helped undermine a proposed US chemical safety law. [13
BP Union reps at a Belgian chemical plant were fired by BP
BP: A SORRY SAFETY RECORD
A series of management failures were responsible for life-threatening accidents at BP's Grangemouth complex, an official report has found. The report found standards had been allowed to slip, managers had not detected "deteriorating performance" and had failed to abide by the law.
During the period between 29 May and 10 June 2000 three incidents occurred at the complex. BP was prosecuted for the failures and fined more than £1m in January 2002 (Risks 38).
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report is the result of a joint investigation with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa).
In a statement BP Grangemouth, said: "BP identified those areas where we had fallen short of our high expectations for our management of safety and environmental performance.” The statement added: "The lessons learned from the Grangemouth experience has been shared with other BP sites around the world."
However, Falkirk East MP, Michael Connarty, backed union claims that BP's plans to cut up to 1,000 jobs at the plant will jeopardise safety (Risks 107).
HSE was criticised by Hazards magazine last year for praising BP Grangemouth after it was given a European Agency safety award, two weeks after HSE’s own report said the company topped the national safety penalties list.
Safety watchdog accused of stressing the BP
UK health and safety watchdog HSE has helped publicise a safety award to BP Grangemouth, the company its own latest figures show was the recipient of the year’s top penalty for a workplace safety offence.
The HSE news release says: “BP Grangemouth is one 20 companies from across Europe who received an award in recognition of outstanding and innovative contributions to the prevention of psychosocial risks, especially work-related stress.”
The release, which was given a second plug in a “ticker” on the homepage of the HSE website, adds: “The awards, which were made by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, aim to acknowledge and motivate good practice activities and stimulate the sharing of practical solutions to prevent work-related stress.”
However, the decision to “trumpet” the award to the company that topped the workplace safety fines list released by HSE two weeks ago (Risks 81), has attracted criticism.
A letter to Health and Safety Commission chair Bill Callaghan from campaigning magazine Hazards said: “Your support for BP doesn't sit too well alongside the policy of naming and shaming health and safety criminals, and makes your statements on corporate social responsibility seem a little, well, fainthearted. I'm sure the company is grateful for this opportunity to put a safe gloss on its dirty record.”
The HSE news release on safety penalties made no mention of BP Grangemouth’s record £1 million safety offence (Risks 38).
letter to HSC chair Bill Callaghan HSE news
release and information
on the award event and European Week 2002
European Agency news
Date: 2 December 2002
HSE trumpets award for Britain's top safety offender
Interesting that you should choose to press release this award to BP Grangemouth.
BP Grangemouth was recipient of the country's highest workplace safety penalty, according to the figures you released last month.
Your support for BP doesn't sit too well alongside the policy of naming and shaming health and safety criminals, and makes your statements on corporate social responsibility seem a little, well, fainthearted. I'm sure the company is grateful for this opportunity to put a safe gloss on its dirty record.
Perhaps you should ask the companies for whom you do this free PR to give a public apology via an HSE press release when they are done for grievious health and safety offences?
BP fined £1m for safety breaches. TUC Risks 26 January 2002 report on the BP fine.
HSE 18 January 2002 statement on the BP £1m fine.
BP Grangemouth is one of twenty companies from across Europe who received an award in recognition of outstanding and innovative contributions to the prevention of psychosocial risks, especially work-related stress.
The awards, which were made by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, aim to acknowledge and motivate good practice activities and stimulate the sharing of practical solutions to prevent work-related stress.
BP Grangemouth submitted a low cost project using risk management to prevent potential stress arising from a plant commissioning project.
Accepting the award at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Project Manager David Wilson said: "Taking action to control stress delivers better technology programmes. The team at Grangemouth is confident to push hard knowing they will recognise stress and that everyone involved will welcome talking about ways to resolve it. I'm sure our experience can help a wide range of teams facing similar challenges."
Another British entry to receive recognition was Debenhams Retail plc which featured in the commended section for its work in preventing work-related violence in the retail sector.
Hans-Horst Konkolewsky, the Director of the Agency, said: "Work-related stress affects more than 40 million workers and is costing the EU an estimated 20 billion euro in absenteeism and related health costs every year - psychosocial risks hurt society and individuals. The good news is that psychosocial problems can be prevented, as the real business cases that will receive a European award clearly document. We hope that their example will inspire other private and public organisations, managers and workers to follow up with similar successful prevention efforts."
The award scheme forms part of European Week for
Safety and Health at Work, which takes place every October and involves
thousands of companies and organisations across Europe.
Notes to Editors:
Public Enquiries: Call HSE's InfoLine, tel: 08701 545500, or write to: HSE Information Services, Caerphilly Business Park, Caerphilly CF83 3GG.
Press Enquiries: Journalists only: Colette Manning 0151 951 3450, out of hours 020 7928 8382. HSE information and press releases can be accessed on the Internet : http://www.hse.gov.uk
OTHER BP STORIES
BP guilty of “corporate scapegoating”
BP fined over S1.4m for safety violations
The charity has instructed fund managers to sell off its entire 51,000 shareholding. It is a significant blow to BP, which often cites its five-year relationship with WWF-UK as an example of its environmental responsibility.
"We've decided to get rid of our shares in BP in line with our constant review of our investments," said Anita Neville, head of advocacy at WWF-UK. "We've been seeing increasing evidence from BP that it no longer deserves the best of sector title."
WWF-UK is particularly dismayed by BP's stance
on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, and wants the company
to improve safety standards following a series of oil well blasts that
have seriously injured several workers.
BP dropped by ethical Henderson Pirkko Juntunen [Financial News, 13 Jan 2003]
BP has been suspended by Henderson Global Investor’s
ethical funds because of environmental, health and safety issues in its
“While BP is clearly putting in place policies at the corporate level to raise its standards, its performance in Alaska prompted sufficient concern that we have suspended the company from our list of approved stocks for the retail SRI funds managed by Henderson. We continue to engage with the company, both about the specifics of Alaska and about more strategic issues of safety and labour relations.”
The tough stance against BP follows an accident last August when an explosion injured a worker. In December another accident killed a contract worker.
BP confirmed that it had received a letter from Henderson which said that the firm suspended its holdings in BP in its SRI funds.
A BP spokesman said: “We are disappointed and are seeking to meet with the Henderson SRI managers to better understand their concerns and questions. This is the only action of this kind we have seen from any SRI funds.”
An SRI consultant said Henderson had taken a bold step ahead of its competition. He said: “Fund managers in the UK tend to work with engagement rather than exclusion, but BP will have to work hard not to be excluded from European SRI portfolios, which sometimes are more strict.”
BP faces mounting criticism over its Alaskan operations. Recently a US judge forced BP to provide unrestricted access to state regulators to further comply with federal, state and local environmental and health and safety laws.
Another worker dies in BP
Under fire BP
HAZARDS MAGAZINE WORKERS' HEALTH INTERNATIONAL NEWS