BP Threatens to Fire Workers Who Use Their Own Safety Gear

Workers report being threatened with pink slips if they use safety equipment that doesn't come from BP. Problem is, BP still hasn't provided any safety equipment.

By Julianne Hing Jun 02, 2010

Contract workers from BP load absorbent booms onto a boat before departing from a staging area to clean up oil impacted marshes June 1, 2010 near Venice, Louisiana. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) Fishermen who’ve been hired to do cleanup and containment work in BP’s Gulf Coast oil spill have been told they would be fired for using their own respirators or safety equipment that wasn’t provided by BP, reported Louisiana Environmental Action Network, a Louisana-based environmental group. "It appears that, despite the obvious potential for exposure to respiratory toxins, BP does not consider respiratory protection necessary equipment," said Paul Orr, Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper in LEAN’s statement. "And even so to prevent the fishermen from using their own respiratory protection if they chose to do so is deeply troubling." This news comes on the heels of reports last week that ten cleanup workers had to be hospitalized after reporting dizziness, nausea and difficulty breathing. The news prompted the Coast Guard to demand 125 commercial fishing boats participating in containment work to return to shore.