U.K. Guardian: BP Plans to Close Its US Safety Watchdog
Summary: BP is moving to disband the safety ombudsman office it set up in 2005 after an explosion at a Texas refinery that killed 15 people. This development is troubling, as this is an office where BP whistleblowers could supposedly bring their concerns in confidence. This move to stop taking complaints (effective July 2011) comes despite an increasing number of safety concerns from BP employees. BP says that it had always intended to phase out the office and recently announced that it will create a new internal safety department.
Critics claim that without this third-party ombudsman system, under which the number of concerns reported incresed almost fourfold, employees will come forward less frequently than they do now. GAP Executive Director Mark Cohen argued in a recent op-ed why BP employees choose to often remain silent -- because BP has a history of firing whistleblowers (and continues to do so), as opposed to listening and acting upon their concerns.
Related Article if found in the Anchorage Daily News, Alaska USA