The United Steelworkers withdrew from talks today with the American Petroleum Institute and the oil industry because of safety, specifically the development of two new American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards for process safety performance indicators and fatigue.
Discussions regarding the consensus standard were initiated at the suggestion of the Chemical Safety Board (CSB) in the aftermath of the catastrophic explosion and fire at BP’s Texas City refinery in 2005.
The API excluded environmental and public interest organizations from the committees developing the standards and severely weighted the process against workers by giving one vote to each of the 22 oil companies and one vote to each of the three oil workers’ union representatives. “After months of very little progress, we found the API and the industry did not understand the meaning of consensus,” said USW International Vice President Gary Beevers, who is in charge of the union’s National Oil Bargaining program. “This industry will simply not get serious about developing standards that have real meat in them and reflect a true consensus,” he added.
Beevers added that the process was too severely weighted toward the oil companies to build a consensus around standards that would keep workers and refinery communities safe. “These oil companies try to get by with as few regulations and mandates as possible; we want a fair playing field.” Click here for more.