Good Friday to you…
BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP, BP,
Was there any other news this week?
“ENFORCEMENT IS NOT OFF THE TABLE”
OSHA chief Dr. David Michaels, speaking to a small group of reporters after his speech to the American Society of Safety Engineers’ annual national meeting this past Tuesday said the working relationship between OSHA and BP in Gulf Coast cleanup operations was much improved, with better communication and information sharing, but “enforcement is not off the table” if neglected safety and health hazards warrant citations.
A memorandum of understanding signed between OSHA and the U.S. Coast Guard calls for OSHA to notify the Federal On Scene Coordinator when it intends to take enforcement action against BP, BP's contractors, or any other employer engaged in response activities.
The memo states: “This may include action in response to imminent dangers, other serious hazards, fatalities or catastrophes, serious injuries or illnesses, or other situations where OSHA determines enforcement is necessary to protect worker safety or health.”
GOOD OLE CORPORATE GREED
Corporate greed is the common thread that ties Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch coal mine explosion where 29 miners died and BP’s deadly Gulf oil disaster that killed 11 workers, say Mine Workers (UMWA) President Cecil Roberts and United Steelworkers (USW) President Leo W. Gerard.
Unions of course are on the offensive, and the rhetoric is reaching biblical proportions: From the AFL-CIO safety blog:
“Greed… is the root of all evil behind the nation’s disasters.”
“CEOs… are driven by the same factor that is fundamental to the catastrophes â€” greed.”
“Society has converted greed from a vice to a virtue.”
“Middle-class workers are the ones who die in coal mines and on oil rigs. Afterwards, CEOs say anything to save the bottom line â€” the one that will determine their bonuses.”
OSHA’S ROLE MODEL: MOTHER JONES
When was the last time you heard an OSHA boss invoke the name of Mother Jones, the legendary labor leader and community activist (1837-1930)?
Dr. David Michaels this week at the ASSE meeting in Baltimore: “Like Mother Jones used to say, ‘mourn for the dead, but fight like hell for the living,’ is what we are doing every day,”
Asked by ISHN after his speech what his top priorities are for OSHA, Michaels responded, “First is reducing injuries and illnesses and developing a prevention program; second is the modernization of the injury recording process; and third is to reshape the way OSHA works to develop a targeting system to better identify those employers who ignore workplace safety and health regulations and put their workers at peril.”
A BILLION HERE, A BILLION THERE: OK, BP will set aside $20 billion over a four-year period at a rate of $5 billion per year, including $5 billion within 2010, to pay economic damage claims to people and businesses that have been affected by the oil spill.
In 2009, BP generated sales of $239 billion. Profits were $14 billion, down from $25.5 billion in 2008.
As the late Senator Everett Dirksen said, "A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking real money."
Now bring on a brigade of Ph.Ds to devise the standards for recoverable claims that will be published. What’s the economic loss to a Gulf Coast hotel maid? A Mobile, Alabama airport limo driver?
PROPHET OF DOOM
Dr. Mike Williamsen of CoreMedia Safety writes on his Safety Culture World blog:safetycultureworld.blogspot.com“Back in the 1990’s Dr. Zebrowski made a detailed analysis of four significant man made tragedies (the Chernobyl nuclear reactor fire, the Piper Alpha oil rig fire, the first space shuttle explosion, the Bhopal gas release). Each was initially classified as an “accident.” However, his in depth research uncovered 11 common threads (human decisions) to each of these disasters. Here they are:
1. Diffuse responsibilities with rigid communication channels and large organizational distances between decision makers and the plant
2. Mindset that success is routine and neglect of severe risks that are present
3. Rule compliance that this is enough to ensure safety
4. Team player emphasis with dissent not allowed even for evident risk
5. Experience at other facilities not processed systematically for application of lessons learned
6. Lessons learned disregarded and neglect of precautions widely adopted elsewhere
7. Safety analysis and responses subordinate to other performance goals in operating priorities
8. Emergency procedures, plans, training and regular drills for severe events lacking
9. Design and operating procedures allowed to persist even though recognized as hazardous elsewhere
10. Project and risk management techniques available but not used
11. Organization with undefined responsibilities and authorities for recognizing and integrating safety matters
”Only a detailed analysis over time will determine if the BP oil rig fire and subsequent oil leak disasters have any, or all, of Dr. Zebroski’s “11 Indicators of Impending Doom.” You and I will have little or nothing to do with this research and “search for the guilty parties.” However, as safety professionals for our own organizations we can, and must, analyze our own operations for the presence of any of these “Ticking Time Bombs.”
“You and your organization need to relentlessly pursue “Doom” eradication before personal disasters have a chance to occur.”
WE INTERUPT the astounding amount of accusations and apologies assaulting our senses to wish parents of high school and college graduates congrats, job well done, all the dads a relaxing Father’s Day, and remember, summer starts this Monday, with its opportunities for balance, perspective and a little distance.