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BP to implement safety panel's recommendations


HOUSTON--BP P.L.C. will implement the recommendations made by an independent safety review panel as part of the company's continuing effort to improve its safety culture and to strengthen and standardize process safety management at BP's five U.S. refineries, BP announced Tuesday.

The panel, headed by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, was created in 2005 after an explosion and fire killed 15 workers at BP's Texas City, Texas, refinery. BP has set aside $1.6 billion to compensate victims of the explosion.

In its report released Tuesday, the Baker panel held that "it is imperative that BP leadership set the process safety 'tone at the top' of the organization and establish appropriate expectations regarding process safety performance." The panel said that BP "has not provided effective leadership in making certain its management and U.S. refining workforce understand what is expected of them regarding process safety performance."

It addition to calling on management to provide more process safety leadership, the panel, among other things, called for an integrated and comprehensive process safety management system and development of a process safety culture, and urged BP to "clearly define expectations and strengthen accountability for process safety performance at all levels in executive management and in the refining managerial and supervisory reporting line."

In a statement accompanying the release of the report, BP said it "already has taken a number of actions which align with the recommendations" of the panel "and will, after a more thorough review, develop plans for additional action" at its U.S. refineries and for applying lessons learned elsewhere.

The Baker panel said that while the report dealt with BP, "we intend it for a broader audience. We are under no illusion that deficiencies in process safety culture, management or corporate oversight are limited to BP."