This article discusses the roles of stakeholder and corporate environmental decision makers. I also discuss how BP Whiting’s refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas provided many opportunities for contamination, but did not fully address them in time. To prevent and minimize future oil spills, companies must make their chemical facilities more efficient and responsive to immediate concerns.
Oil spills occur when companies fail to protect the environment. An oil spill can contaminate water, the marine ecosystem, the coastal environment, and the ground. Often a company would be required to pay for cleanup after an oil spill in the U.S. as part of its general liability insurance policy. However, the U.S. Coast Guard could not monitor a commercial oil terminal after a spill occurred.
A responsible company would take steps to prevent an oil spill as well as respond immediately after it occurs. That is what the corporate environmental protection role is all about. In the case of the BP Whiting refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas, they could have prevented an oil spill by using industrial oil spill containment and recovery systems.
A compliance officer would have been appointed to oversee operations at the refinery. He or she would have been trained on how to recognize and respond to emergency situations. The supervisor of operations at the refinery would have been required to submit a monthly report detailing the progress of the waste water management system. That report was necessary because compliance officers are also required to perform monitoring of the waste water management system.
The board of directors would have reviewed that report and taken appropriate action. If a company fails to respond to an emergency situation, then that company should not be allowed to operate in the United States. BP Whiting realized that and therefore hired an agency to provide that response.
Unfortunately, the company never did carry out these procedures. They did not require their employees to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) during the operation of the waste water treatment facility. Instead, employees wore only hard hats and gators. Many of them also work in close proximity to the oil spill. As a result, their personal protective equipment did not protect them from exposure to oil and related chemicals.
Those toxic chemicals caused some employees to experience serious respiratory problems. Some people died as a result of the exposure to the toxic chemicals. The workers and refinery workers are the most at risk of oil spills. A company needs to develop a comprehensive disaster plan in case of an oil spill.
A company has to do the right steps to protect workers and the environment. For example, after the explosion at the Gulf of Mexico oil rig, there were many government officials who called for additional safety measures. However, they did not adequately enforce the existing regulations.
When a major accident occurs, the company has to ensure that workers are properly trained and the appropriate procedures are being followed. Those who may become ill or die need to be protected. In addition, health risks for workers should be reduced to the lowest degree possible.
Chemical companies should have proper training for their employees, whether on a job site or in the laboratory, in oil spill prevention. In addition, companies should identify the industrial oil spill containment and recovery systems that they currently use and recommend that their customers purchase those systems as well. The use of technologies such as these greatly reduces the risk of accidents.
Workers who already use PPE and are exposed to the risk of an oil spill must know how to use the systems. Those who are not certified to use the systems need to be educated. It is not a joke when oil is spilled on the ground. People who work in the oil field should always wear eye protection, respirators, gloves, and other protective gear.
Because of recent events in the Gulf of Mexico, individuals who work in the petroleum industry must know how to respond to oil spills. in order to protect workers and the environment.