[author: Ashley Shaw, XpertHR Legal Editor]
A settlement related to BP's involvement in the Deepwater Horizon Oil spill includes the largest criminal penalty in US history and serious charges against some employees.
The result in the BP oil spill case demonstrates the importance of safety in the workplace, as well as the need for honesty in Congressional hearings.
BP's 2010 oil rig explosion killed 11 workers and injured 17 more and led to the largest off shore oil spill in the nation's history. The spill resulted in company reputation loss, extensive and costly clean-up efforts and massive harm done to the environment and the surrounding tourism industry.
As a result of the spill and subsequent lying to Congress, BP agreed to pay over $4.5 billion dollars in penalties - not including the more than tens of billions that it has already been paying.
On top of the steep penalties, the company pled guilty to 11 felony counts of misconduct and neglect and one felony count of obstruction of congress, as well as a misdemeanor count. Two employees have been charged with manslaughter.
Despite all of this, these penalties are only criminal: civil suits are still in play, including a settlement of a civil action with local business owners and individuals hurt in the spill that is expected to settle for around $7.8 billion.
What can other employers learn from BP? Safety saves lives, reputations and the bottom line.
Risk Management - Health, Safety, Security > HR and Workplace Safety (OSHA Compliance)
Risk Management - Health, Safety, Security > Employee Health