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Chemical Safety Board Invites Public to BP Explosion Hearing




HOUSTON, Texas, July 19, 2012 (ENS) - The U.S. Chemical Safety Board has announced a public hearing in Houston next week to release preliminary findings of the agency's investigation of BP's Macondo well blowout, explosion and fire in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010.

The April 20, 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig which drilled on the BP-operated Macondo Prospect about 40 miles off the coast of Louisiana killed 11 men working on the platform and injured 17 others.

Multiple U.S. Coast Guard helicopters, planes and vessels respond to the explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon, April 21, 2010. (Photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard)

The explosion broke the wellhead a mile beneath the surface of the Gulf, releasing about 4.9 million barrels of crude oil, the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry.

On July 15, 2010, the gushing wellhead was finally capped but not before the oil had fouled the coastlines of five states from Texas to Florida and closed large portions of the Gulf to fishing.

The Chemical Safety Board's two day hearing on July 23-24, 2012, in Houston, Texas is being held to support the board's continued analysis of effective safety performance indicators in the high hazard petroleum industry.

CSB Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso said, "The CSB's public hearing will provide a unique opportunity for safety experts from around the world to share information and discuss the most advanced work in the area of safety performance indicators for major accident prevention in high-hazard industries."

The hearing's two day agenda will include statements from several panels of experts, including government officials, industry executives, union representatives, and non-profit stakeholder groups from the United States, Norway, the UK, and Australia.

The participants will address the use of leading and lagging major accident indicators by companies, regulators and the workforce to improve safety performance.

The first day of the hearing will focus on the downstream refining and petrochemical sector. It will feature a presentation by CSB staff on the Board's evaluation of the American Petroleum Institute's Recommended Practice for Process Safety Performance Indicators for the Refining and Petrochemical Industries.

The second day will include a presentation by CSB staff on preliminary findings on the use of safety indicators and major accident prevention from the Macondo incident.

The board hopes to use the testimony gathered from these presentations and discussions to inform its analysis of the Macondo incident and future CSB investigations involving low probability, high consequence events.

The hearing will take place from 9 am to 5 pm on July 23 and 24 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, 1200 Louisiana Street, in Houston. The hearing is free and open to the public. To register for the event email: [email protected].


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