A BP plant with a history of chemical releases and fires, and already the site of a 2005 explosion that killed 15 people and injured 170, will be paying out $100 million to ten workers who were exposed to a toxic substance in 2007.
Fined in October by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration a record $87 million for failing to correct safety issues following the 2005 blast in its Texas City, Tx plant, the federal jury awarded each of the ten contract workers $10 million for punitive damages. Nine of the workers will also receive between $5000 and $10,000 for pain and suffering, and a tenth will receive over $240,000.
It was revealed during the trial that BP claimed no toxic substance was released on the date of the incident. However, one of the worker’s gas masks was tested and showed exposure to carbon disulfide, which is a colorless and toxic liquid. The workers said they experienced dizziness and sore throats. Over 100 employees were sent to the ER. Fortunately, none experienced long-term lung damage.
BP was found to have encouraged bad management and cost cutting measures at the plant, which were contributing factors to the 2005 explosion. BP has a bad safety record, which probably contributed to the jurors’ decision.