"Health and safety" means different things to different people: a banana skin; a bureaucrat’s delight in article 153 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the EU; serious danger to life and limb. To Greenpeace, it is a rod with which to beat its hereditary enemies in the oil industry; to oil groups, it is the heavy cost of a high-risk business. To Bob Dudley, boss of BP, improvements to health and safety pushed up his bonus and helped to lift his pay to more than $19m last year, despite the group’s losses. For BP shareholders, though, health and safety is associated with the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the US in 2010 that killed 11 people and landed shareholders with a $61bn bill. And now, according to an internally commissioned report on BP’s downstream operations, a series of "high potential" safety incidents critical to efficiency and workers’ safety has cost further millions. The most serious — at Whiting, near Chicago — cost $258m in lost production and narrowly avoided losing ...

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