BP & The Profits Over Safety Business Model
This incident is another sobering example of the “profits over safety business model” that I have discussed previously on Tort Deform in connection with the governmental response to the Ground Zero environmental fallout. Injuries to human life and limb can never be fully compensated by any amount of money. I think it's clear that any of these victims, given a choice, would rather have their life or health than a check.
In this case, a company knew of a danger and decided not to fix it. Instead they may have simply put aside money to pay the foreseeable legal claims from the accident it knew would only happen in a matter of time.
BP chided in report on fatal Texas fire Internal papers show oil company aware of hazards before 2005 explosion at refinery. October 30 2006: 9:31 PM EST NEW YORK (CNN) -- Internal BP documents reveal the oil company's knowledge of "significant safety problems at the Texas City refinery," months or years before the March 2005 explosion that killed 15 workers and injured more than 170 others, according to preliminary findings released Monday by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board. BP (Charts) has accepted full responsibility for the disaster at its plant and has settled more than 1,000 lawsuits related to claims made by those injured on site, by family members of those who died, and by people who suffered shock. More than $1.6 billion was set aside by BP to resolve those claims, a BP spokesman told CNN. The CSB report says the company was warned of potentially hazardous conditions at the plant, and while it improved working conditions, "unsafe and antiquated equipment designs were left in place, and unacceptable deficiencies in preventative maintenance were tolerated," CSB Chairman Carolyn Merritt said. ( link to article)The company has reported it designated $1.6 billion to compensate those killed and injured.
Wouldn’t this money have been better spent fixing the actual problem instead of compensating the dead and injured, and then still having to spend more money to actually fix the problem?
When businesses advocate for tort “reform” to make it harder for them to be held to account in court for instances of misconduct, ask them if companies like this one should be allowed to go unpunished.
Their answer may be very telling about the actual goals and values of the tort “reform” movement and its supporters.
A lot of conservatives are promoting family values, moral integrity, and personal responsibility.
I’d like to see them apply these same values which they trumpet to others to the way they run their businesses, as well as toward their vision of a fair and just society.