Health & Safety to be Number One Issue in National Bargaining Talks
United Steelworkers (USW) officials briefed congressional members and staff today about health and safety problems in the oil industry and how they will impact National Oil Bargaining talks which are scheduled to heat up in January.
USW Health and Safety Specialist Kim Nibarger outlined five fatal flaws at the briefing on where the oil industry needs to improve its health and safety record: process safety, mechanical integrity, management of change, incident investigation and control room alarms and instrumentation.
“When things go bad in a refinery, they go really bad and people die,” he told the briefing. “Focusing on personal safety—the wearing of hard hats and safety glasses, slips, trips and falls—says nothing about how safe a refinery is for workers and the surrounding community. BP had a low personal injury rate at its refineries, but the 2005 explosion and fire at its Texas City plant showed it failed miserably in terms of process safety. Fifteen people were killed and 170 were injured in the 2005 accident as a result of this failure.”
Process safety does not focus on the individual. Instead, attention is paid to the worksite: equipment reliability, discharges into the air and ground, preventative maintenance, and inspection and testing. Nibarger discussed accidents that happened in recent years and how each oil company failed to comply with process safety management standards ... more