Professor Andrew Hopkins Wins International Safety Award

Monday, 11 August, 2008 - 10:00
Industry news

INTERNATIONAL SAFETY AWARD - The European Process Safety Centre has selected Professor Andrew Hopkins as the winner of its 2008 Annual Safety Award. This is the first occasion in the history of the EPSC that the award has gone to a person not resident in Europe. The award is to recognise extraordinary contribution to process safety within Europe.

Professor Hopkins was invited to the annual EPSC Conference in Antwerp on October 9-10 where he was presented with the award by the Director of the European Process Safety Centre. The occasion also allowed Professor Hopkins to present the Director of the Safety Process Centre with one of the first copies available of his new book Failure to Learn- based on the BP Texas City Incident.

Professor Hopkins

Picture courtesy of Futuremedia: Professor Andrew Hopkins (pictured on right), receiving his award from Christian Jochum,
Director of the European Process Safety Centre.

An extract of the paper presented by Andrew Hopkins at the conference is provided here, courtesy of EPSC International Conference 2008 Programme:

Andrew Hopkins, Australian National University - "Why BP failed to learn the lessons from elsewhere: the Texas City Refinery fire"

An explosion at BP‟s Texas City Refinery in March 2005 cost the lives of 15 people and injured nearly 200 more. BP had failed to learn the lesson of earlier incidents, such as the Esso Longford explosion, that major hazards are quite distinct from the hazards that give rise to most occupational injuries and must be managed quite differently. This paper explores the reasons for this failure to learn, focusing on the company‟s organisational structure and its incentive systems

Andrew Hopkins is Professor of Sociology at the Australian National University in Canberra. His recent books have focused in the organisational and cultural causes of major accidents. He was an expert witness at the Royal Commission into the causes of the fire at Esso‟s gas plant at Longford in Victoria in 1998. In 2001 he was the expert member of the Board of Inquiry into the exposure of Air Force maintenance workers to toxic chemicals. He has been involved in various government OHS reviews and has done consultancy work for major companies in the resources sector. He speaks regularly to audiences around the world about the causes of major accidents. He was a consultant to the US Chemical Safety Board in their investigation of the Texas City accident. His book on that accident, Failure to Learn: the BP Texas City Refinery Disaster, will be published in October 2008.

Professor Andrew Hopkins is a Fellow (FSIA) of The Safety Institute of Australia.