Preliminary Deepwater Horizon Accident Findings Cite Lack of Safety Culture at BP

[tweetmeme]I want to make is perfectly clear that I am not an expert in the Oil & Gas Industry, and I don’t envy those safety professionals that work hard every day to try to help make sure that every worker who reports to work, also goes home safely at the end of the shift.  However, I feel strongly (as do many others) that the accident on the Deepwater Horizon should never have happened. 

I hope that we all can learn valuable lessons from the accident.  Knowing and admitting that the decisions made that led up to the accident, are the same types of decsions being made everyday throughout ALL industry types.  We must realize that incremental mistakes may seem insignificant at the time, but they are as Bob Bea says; a slippery slope!

Bob Bea, a UC Berkeley engineering professor, and a former consultant for BP who was asked by the White House to help analyze the Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf,  has released a preliminary report and in it, he clearly implicates a lack of safety culture at BP as the most probable root cause of the accident.   While comparing the current situation to that of the levee failures following hurricane Katrina, Bea says “We had this long slide down this slippery slope of incremental bad decisions [regarding the levees].   This is following the same trail.”

Although there are some critical direct causes of the accidents cited in the report, including not following industry standard practices due to apparent cost cutting and time-saving demands.  the root cause of the accident has yet to be determined.  Although according to Bea the fault primarily lays with BP—e.g., after overruling Transocean workers and managers—BP made the call to remove heavy drilling mud and displace it with seawater.  It was a move that Transocean managers equated to “taking shortcuts,” according to witness statements reported by The Associated Press.

All of this points to a probable root cause of lack of appreciation for safety and serious lack of any type of safety climate in place on the Deepwater Horizon.  According to Bea, during an interview with NBC,  “I think we’ve got the outline of the picture puzzle,” Bea says. “The details are still missing.  But I think we got the outline right.”

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Comments

  1. Freeone says:

    Before the accident BP was up for a safety award from Obama. BP also had a reputation in the oil industry for its lack of safety. The accident, if it was small, could have been the best case for getting cap and trade passed in the Senate. Now that is worse than anyone could have guessed Obama and his buddy President of BP is willing to take the heat and pay out several hundred million dollars and blame someone else for the accident. This price is small potatoes to it’s profits. Anyone connecting the dots here other than blaming it on Bush? The cause and coverup have to be looked at closely before the story gets rewriten.

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