Inspectors found 13 safety violations at BP's Cherry Point refinery, seen above.
Given that there is currently a geyser of oil pumping millions and millions of gallons of the company's black gold into the Gulf of Mexico, and that the federal government's plans to expand drilling in the nation's coastal waters have, for the moment, been scuttled, you could say that BP already has its hands full.
But sooner or later the petroleum giant is going to have to deal with the problems that have cropped up here in Washington state.
The Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) said today that it has fined BP $69,200 for 13 safety procedure violations at its Cherry Point refinery.
About an hour north of Anacortes (site of the Tesoro oil refinery explosion that killed 5 people last month), BP's Cherry Point facility is the state's largest, processing 225,000 barrels of crude each day. And like the Tesoro facility, accidents at Cherry Point in 2005 and 2007 cost two workers their lives.
Most of the recent safety failures recorded by L&I centered around the facility's largest gasoline-processing unit, with lapsed inspections and failure to maintain safety-control devices rounding out the list of violations.
Even scarier is L&I's admission that these violations are somewhat commonplace. As Michael Silverstein, assistant director for L&I's Division of Occupational Safety and Health, says in a released statement, "The safety violations our inspectors uncovered at BP were problems similar to those we've uncovered in all of the refineries we have inspected in Washington."