Implications of OSHA standards and regulations
A. Key factors in the case relate to employee training and the condition of the work environment:
29 CFR 1910.1200 Hazard Communication: Safety data needs to be transmitted to employees and employees must be trained in safety procedures.
29 USC 654, § 5. Duties: Provide employees with a work environment that is free of known hazards and follow the rules outlined in the OSH Act.
B. Focus of OSHA Standards
Protect employees from known safety hazards(U.S. Department of Labor, 2014)
Not created to identify infrastructure design and cultural problems
Theory that best explains the cause of the accident is Heinrich’s Domino Theory (Hollnagel, 2004)
Workers were injured and killed because of the accident.
The accident was caused by mechanical hazards.
Mechanical hazards existed because of a lack of funding for safety, maintenance and equipment replacement.
The lack of funding was caused by an organization culture that valued profits over safety.
Ethics require professional responsibility, accountability and legal compliance. A breach occurs when these responsibilities are not met.
A. BP breach their ethical responsibilities by:
Putting profitability above employee safety
Failing to comply with OSHA standards
B. Front-Page Test
If the behavior is published on the front page of the newspaper, how would you feel?
BP Texas City would not want consumers to know that they are not updating equipment that has been defined as having an “obsolete design”; and they would not want the public to know that despite high mortality rates, the company still refused to make any changes to their safety practices
BP Texas City had a high mortality rate: three deaths in 2009; and an average of 1 death per 16 months period. Despite this fact, OSHA inspections did not identify the glaring sources of potential catastrophic events.
Reason 1: OSHA was looking at common safety issues, such as safety equipment, proper storage of chemicals and the posting of OSHA posters and safety information. Inspectors were not looking at the design of the equipment, as they are not equipment experts.
Reason 2: BP Texas City had improved its safety record, at least in regards to employee accident prevention. This created a masking effect that presented that the company had a culture and leadership that promoted safety.
The most appropriate approaches BP should implement to prevent accidents
Risk management approach: (1) assess risks; (2) identify mitigation strategies; (3) implement mitigation strategies; and (4) monitor results (Khatta, 2005).
Develop a safety culture that encourages all levels of the company to engage in behaviors that promote a safer work environment (Kjellen, 2002).
Implement a process system strategy that uses cause and effect relationships to identify risk factors that need to be mitigated for to prevent future accidents (Mitropoulos, Howell, &Abdelhamid, 2005).
Multiple recommendations were made to help BP develop