The workers on the crew that overfilled the tank, as well as the driver of the idling truck are in this sense directly responsible for the disaster. They violated proper procedure and those failing to intervene or report these violates are culpable. This culpability is mitigated by the requirement that fatigue workers work 12-hour shifts, in the context of normative, company-led safety violations and lack of safety training, functioning alarms and other safety equipment. The driver of the truck, while perhaps the most proximate individual trigger for the disaster, is fairly neutral in terms of culpability, having no knowledge of the gas inside the tank.
Laudability and culpability are mixed, though weighted more toward culpability when it comes to the government body tasked with overseeing workplace safety. OSHA, despite issuing a warning to BP before the disaster, OSHA failed to instigate comprehensive inspections. This lax attitude nullified the last line of defense against such tragedy.
Merritt, the lead investigator for the CSB, said that “the drastic effects of corporate cost-cutting” caused the fire. At the time of the disaster, the company had recently merged with Arco. Low oil prices put pressure on management that ultimately resulted in the most culpable decisions leading to the disaster. lack of investment in plant safety and infrastructure, deliberate skirting of needed safety equipment and precautions, as well as staff cuts and overwork.
According to the CSB, BP managers cut capital spending and spending on maintenance in the years leading to the disaster, and following years of low investment. This was, however, an industry norm at the time. Safety features such as alarms were not present or not working, while the layout .of the plant made it prone to disaster. . .