In the wake of this year’s fatal oil platform explosion and resulting Gulf of Mexico spill—not to mention major refinery accident and pipeline leaks in recent years—under a new CEO, U.K.-based BP PLC is revamping its corporate safety culture. The firm announced late last month a new safety-and-risk division, the function of which will be “embedded” in corporate operating units with “sweeping powers” to oversee, audit and intervene in BP technical activities.
“The changes are in areas where I believe we most clearly need to act, with safety and risk management our most urgent priority,” said CEO Bob Dudley, who took over on Oct. 1. The Queens, N.Y.-born executive, the first American to head the firm, replaces Tony Hayward. Leading the new division and reporting directly to Dudley is Mark Bly, former corporate chief of safety and operations. He conducted the internal probe into last April’s Deepwater Horizon explosion and spill. Also, BP agreed in August to a record $50-million federal fine for failing to address safety problems stemming from a fatal blast in 2005 at a Texas refinery.