Safety issues continue to plague BP. Workers for BP allege that a labour shortage at Prudhoe Bay, the United States’ largest oil field has made conditions ripe for fatigue-related accidents similar to one that killed 15 employees at the company’s Texas plant in 2005.

BP has failed to fill about a dozen vacancies for highly skilled technicians at Prudhoe Bay, despite repeated requests from its union since September, said Kris Dye, president of United Steelworkers 4959.

“We’re dealing with very explosive and dangerous processes, and you wouldn’t have to do too much to have something really bad happen,” says Dye. “We are concerned because people have said flat out, ‘I can’t work any more overtime. We need people with 10-year plus experience who we can bring up to speed pretty quickly and take care of these people who are walking around with a glazed look in their eyes.”