BP is facing fresh questions about its safety record after being given a series of deadlines by the British Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to address problems on North Sea installations that are potentially putting workers at risk.

Following a review of safety after the Texas City fire that killed 15 people and injured 150 two years ago, the HSE has told BP it is in breach of North Sea safety laws and may face closure of some of its facilities

The HSE, which enforces safety rules in Britain, has served BP with 14 “improvement notices” over the last year – seven on one production installation alone – demanding that the oil company undertake repairs and changes to ensure the facilities comply with the law.

The problems were described by offshore unions as “very, very serious” and present new difficulties for Tony Hayward in his first week in the job.

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