US safety board says lapses led to BP oil spill


HOUSTON -- The US Chemical Safety Board said late Tuesday that Transocean and BP had multiple deficiencies in their safety-management systems that contributed to the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe.

The way the two companies and US oil-industry organizations measured safety didn't focus on major accidents, but on personal-safety incidents and other lagging indicators, the agency said.

The agency's remarks are part of a wide reaction by US regulators to the deep-water blowout that in 2010 killed 11 people aboard a Transocean rig leased by BP, and led to a three-month offshore oil spill, the worst in US history.

The CSB, which typically investigates onshore accidents at major industrial sites, was asked by a Congressional committee to conduct an investigation on the disaster, despite opposition from some in the offshore industry who have alleged the US Gulf of Mexico is outside the agency's area of jurisdiction.

The CSB said a "robust system of process safety indicators" might have revealed many of the problems that led to the disaster, including discordant safety controls between BP and Transocean, over-reliance on manual intervention by the crew, fickle safety plans, and lack of follow-up after smaller or similar incidents.

"We are gratified that the CSB recognized Transocean's ongoing commitment to personal safety on all our rigs and in our constant drive for best practices," a Transocean spokesman said.

"We will review industry recommendations regarding process safety management."

BP didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

Dow Jones Newswires

Related News

From the Archive