Thought Leadership


Videotape dangerous operations to reduce fatalities

October 21, 2009

Why isn’t this dichotomy you present isn’t also covered in the high profile media like 60 Minutes or 20/20 I don’t know.

You got me thinking (uh oh)…. Since the number of deaths per incident is directly proportional to magnitude of the coverage (you know, one death is local news, three is regional news, four or more can occasionally be national news, over 8 is national news and over 12 is wall-to-wall national news)… But if these deaths happen geographically distributed and occur just a few per day, as in traffic fatalities or more topically, 128 distributed deaths per day in the U.S. from “lack of medical insurance” they are totally invisible to the public, the justice system, and the lawmakers.

Of course the modern exception to this rule is if good video of the event is available to the public, then even a single death can launch national coverage. That means that if the worker who falls into the chocolate vat and is crushed by the mixer is on tape it will become newsworthy and perhaps more “justice-worthy.” Look at how the video of the unfortunate Chicago student being beaten to death has sparked such national visibility and reaction at the highest levels of government. Where was the outrage, and response for the other kids all over the country over the past years who suffered the same fate, but without video?

That means if we can catch occupational fatalities and injuries on tape…. and tape that was made available to the public through say, OSHA, their national visibility will go up and the justice response will be better.

Makes me wonder if the penalty for a serious injury or fatality shouldn’t include a requirement for management to install video to visually capture the dangerous operation going forward so that both workers and management know they will be visible if the problem occurs again.

Or facilities with high injury rates get the OSHA video treatment.

Reminds me of the story of the casino risk manager who was constantly dealing with car owners filing claims that valet parking was dinging their car doors. Liability turned on a battle between the valet‘s word versus the high roller car owner’s word. A tough spot for the risk manager. Till they installed video-racking from the moment the car arrived to the time it was parked, while it was parked, to when it was picked up by the valet and handed back to the owner. Then whenever a car owner claimed a door ding, the risk manager could say, “Let’s see how your car was treated at our facility,” and he could plug in the license into his computer and instantly show the owner the video of the car being dropped off, parked, picked up and returned. Since the car was visible the entire time it was in the casino’s possession it became very obvious and clear to the owner how the car was treated, and the claim would be dropped. Also the valets, knowing they were on tape, also increased their quality. Liability problem solved.
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