Sign outside a BP gas station in Chicago
Sign outside a BP gas station in Chicago - 
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LISA NAPOLI: The British oil giant BP has denied that it put profit above safety. The company was reacting to a damning report on the safety record at its U.S. refineries. Marketplace's Stephen Beard has more.

STEPHEN BEARD: The report by former Secretary of State James Baker was unremitting in its criticism of BP. It spoke of "material deficiencies" on the issue of safety.

Last night the head of the company, Lord Browne, hit back. He denied that cost-cutting had caused the problems. He said he had never rejected a request for money to be spent on safety measures. Nevertheless he accepted the broad thrust of the Baker Report.

And, says analyst Stewart Frazer, there is little doubt that BP is already mending its ways.

STEWART FRAZER: The company is really making strong efforts now. It's reached agreement with the unions on safety issues. It's going to be listening more to people, particularly those at the sharp end of the business.

However, BP's American problems are far from over. Managers and executives could still face criminal charges over the Texas City refinery disaster.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.