Transocean Blamed for Inadequate Worker Safety in Last Year’s Deadly Oil Rig Explosion

Federal officials investigating the Deepwater Horizon incident released their investigation report in April, a year and two days after the deadly oil rig explosion killed 11 workers and injured another 17.

According to the 348-page report, which is only Volume One of a larger report that will be released in July, the owner of the oil rig was largely to blame for one of the largest oil spills in history. Focused on the explosion, subsequent fire, and flooding and sinking of the off-shore oil rig, the first part of the report blamed Transocean for poor maintenance, inadequate training of employees and improper safety precautions.

Investigators believe that the explosion might have been preventable had the company not bypassed gas alarms and automatic shutdown systems. According to a joint panel made up of Coast Guard and Interior Department staff, “These deficiencies indicate that Transocean’s failure to have an effective safety management system and install a culture that emphasizes and ensures safety contributed to this disaster.”

Federal investigations into the disasterous explosion and spill continue:

•· The U.S. Chemical Safety and Harzard Investigation Board is still looking into the matter.

•· The Department of Justice is determining whether criminal charges should apply.

•· The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is expected to release a report explaining the root cause of the explosion — the blowout of BP’s well.

Since the April 20, 2010 explosion, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against BP and Transocean, including a number of wrongful death lawsuits filed by the families of the deceased workers.

Source: Houston Chronicle, “Report blasts Transocean over Deepwater Horizon disaster,” 4/22/11