Oil giant British Petroleum has backed off its earlier report, criticized by union officials
Oil giant British Petroleum has backed off its earlier report, criticized by union officials that workers were primarily to blame for a March refinery explosion that killed 15 people.
BP officials said Monday that while worker error was a critical factor in the March 23 blast in Texas City, it was not the deeper cause. The company said it had not yet identified the cause.
We simply used the wrong language to describe the report's findings," BP spokesman Hugh Depland said Monday of the interim report released last week. "Our fault."
Since the initial report, BP has taken heat from union leaders and victims, who said BP was blaming low- and midlevel workers and ignoring management responsibility.
"As far as I'm concerned they tried to put the blame on lower-level workers and make them scapegoats," said Gary Beevers, region director of the United Steelworkers. "We are going forward with our own investigation."
Last week, Ross Pillari, president of Houston-based BP Products North America, said the core issue was workers not following procedures, and that supervisors and hourly workers face discipline.
The blast, which began in a unit that boosts the octane level of gasoline, occurred when it was brought up to full production after a two-week shutdown for routine maintenance. More than 170 workers were injured.
"The core issue here is people not following procedures," Pillari said at the time. "If they had ... followed procedures, the accident wouldn't have happened."