BP Establishes New Safety Unit

In the wake of the Gulf of Mexico-Transocean oil rig explosion, BP says it has established a new division that will be in charge of overseeing safety. The company insists that the new division will have sweeping powers, including the ability to intervene in order to establish safety standards. The company is hoping that its shattered image will be repaired, helping rebuild public trust in the company. The new division will be run by Mark Bly, who also headed BPs internal investigation into the disaster. Bly will report to Bob Dudley, who is expected to take over as chief executive of the company on 1 October. BBC News is also reporting that BP is undertaking a number of other measures to streamline operations and build safety. It is splitting its Upstream Business into three separate divisions, called Exploration nation, Development and Production. BP is also specifically looking at how it manages third-party contractors. It is also reconsidering reward programs for improved safety. As a maritime attorney, I hope this division won't be just another dysfunctional BP unit. During the Coast Guard hearings into the Transocean oil rig explosion, it became clear that the managers were choosing to take the easy way out by claiming they didn't know what caused the explosion, rather than offering their internal views about the causes of the tragedy. If that kind of employee attitude persists in the new division too, then we can expect to see more bungling on safety issues from BP. BP needs to learn that it has performed terribly on transparency and trust. Image Courtesy: Flickr – Matrin Pettitt

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