Saturday, July 10, 2010

On responsibility for workplace accidents,

The root cause of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and the subsequent gusher is bad management.

I believe we need to keep drilling offshore but it needs to be done safely.

It is clear from the initial inquiry that officers (not just managers but a Captain who supposedly is responsible for the safety of the ship and crew) of the Deepwater Horizon, who should have said no to BP managers or to their own managers at Transocean, did not. I know the other majors seem to be safer than BP but they use Transocean also and if Transocean can't say no to BP then they may not be able to say no to their other clients.

Does this call for new regulations? Maybe but what really needs to happen is that those responsible for the day to day management of these rigs and other dangerous workplaces need to be held personally accountable.

I know that may seem unfair to some but it would have saved lives on the Deepwater Horizon, at the Upper Big Branch Mine and at hundreds or thousands of other workplaces where people are killed or injured (See note at bottom for BLS statistics). On site managers need to know that if they don’t enforce safety regulations and use common sense about dangerous workplaces then they will be punished! If the day to day managers know that they might go to jail then they might have more incentive to say no to their bosses when they’re pressured to cut corners. Blaming the an offsite boss for something that was done onsite, because you were afraid of losing your job or not getting promoted, is tantamount to saying, “I was just following orders”.

Note about workplace fatalities.

According to the Bureau if Labor Statistics a total of 5,071 fatal work injuries were recorded in the United States in 2008. Although the number of fatal injuries in oil and gas drilling only account for 2.3% (120 fatalities) of the total the historical trends are very troubling. Over the five-year period of 2004-2008 in the three states, Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana, where the majority of oil and gas drilling fatalities have occurred, fatal work injuries have increased 91 percent, 21 percent and 30 percent respectively.

No comments:

Post a Comment