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Safety Awards That Endanger Workers’ Lives

BP, Massey Power and Tesoro all have hauled out plaques celebrating security achievements to deflect allegations of corporate recklessness within the aftermath of explosions in April that killed 47 of their staff.

Although each of those firms accepted awards for security statistics, not one has taken responsibility for workplace deaths.

The disconnect between security awards and lifeless workers has enabled these firms to characterize the explosions as accidents, random occasions for which no one really is to blame, definitely not corporate officials who control situations in workplaces. That is why these pseudo-safety awards are so destructive.

The prizes congratulate firms for lowering incidents akin to slips and falls that injure workers to the point that they must miss work. petroleum equipment and supplies Reducing worker accidents is nice, no doubt about it. But preserving staff’ lives is imperative. The corporate awards packages fail to acknowledge employers who efficiently institute extra complicated, pricey and rigorous procedures called “process security management” to get rid of office catastrophes that kill.

Awards for slip and fall discount promote complacency. The plaques hanging in hallways say the oil rig or coal mine or refinery is tremendous safe – so safe it is worthy of commemoration. They create the illusion of protection in workplaces the place course of security administration hasn’t been correctly carried out. The security plaques are paper shields, simply immolated in explosions, along with the staff they beguiled.

Some BP executives actually experienced slightly of that burn on April 20. A bunch of BP bigwigs was aboard Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico when it exploded. They’d traveled out to the oil rig to have fun a security milestone. Employees on the rig had gone seven years and not using a misplaced-time accident – nicely, seven years with out reporting one, anyway. Companies routinely subtly and overtly discourage employees from reporting injuries. For instance, companies grant cash awards for designated time intervals during which no injury reports are filed and force mishap victims to put on distinctive clothing like orange vests so they get the blame – and not the corporation – for injury experiences that value entire crews their money awards.

The BP executives escaped Deepwater Horizon with their lives. Eleven roustabouts and roughnecks on that day of safety celebration did not.

Just last year, the federal Minerals Administration Service (MMS) gave BP and Transocean, the owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig, Safety Awards for Excellence -Protected awards. MMS bestows these on offshore oil and fuel corporations for “excellent safety and pollution prevention efficiency.” Once more this 12 months, BP was a finalist for a Protected award. After the Deepwater Horizon explosion, MMS postponed announcement of this 12 months’s winners. Final yr, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Well being Administration (OSHA) presented BP Alaska with a 3-year re-certification of its Star award, which acknowledges security efficiency.

All of that may lead employees to consider BP is a secure employer – not like the BP with a refinery in Texas Metropolis, Texas that blew up in 2005 killing 15 employees and injuring 170, the BP that OSHA slapped with its second largest total penalty ever — $21 million – for safety violations at Texas Metropolis that led to the large explosion, the BP that OSHA hit with its largest ever superb — $87.4 million – final fall for failure over four years to adjust to the terms of its settlement agreement to right the potential hazards at Texas City.

No, the safety-award-winning BP have to petroleum products for hair 60 be totally different, a company that acknowledges its duty to determine and conduct safe workplaces.

A research after the BP-Texas Metropolis explosion showed that the most effective ways to stop such catastrophes is meeting the standards of process security management. These use engineering and administration methods to repeatedly ensure that machinery and piping are in good condition, meticulously handle and report changes, and properly prepare employees. The ideas will not be exclusive to refineries. They can be utilized to improve security in other industrial processes as properly.

The refinery industry accepted the method safety standards however hasn’t rigorously carried out them. The United Steelworkers union, which represents oil staff, met with oil firms and the American Petroleum Institute (API), a trade group for drillers and refiners, in an attempt to petroleum products for hair 60 put in writing two new standards addressing leading indicators within the refining business and worker fatigue. However the union abandoned the effort last fall because the trade was extra concerned about image than security.

Then, on April 2, an explosion at the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, Wash. killed seven employees. Like BP, Tesoro is a security award winner – however not for comprehensive process security administration. The Nationwide Petrochemical and Refiners Affiliation (NPRA) has granted the Anacortes refinery numerous prizes over the years – “benefit” and “achievement” and “gold” — together with two final year. Tesoro notes on its internet site that this recognition is for decreasing “recordable injury charges”- the misplaced-time injuries that have to be reported to OSHA.

NPRA would not sponsor an award for corporations that enhance process safety management. It is attempting to collect statistics on process safety from drillers and refiners, however participation is something but compulsory. NPRA stresses that the knowledge it receives on course of safety shall be collected on an aggregate level so it isn’t specific to particular person refineries, will likely be saved secret and will likely be used for benchmarking only. Clearly, it is striving to entice reticent refiners to take part.

Three days after the Tesoro tragedy, 29 workers died in an explosion in Massey Power’s Higher Big Branch mine in West Virginia. Massey CEO Don Blankenship immediately started blaming God and the workers themselves for the catastrophe and citing Massey’s security awards. In 2009, The National Mining Association and the U.S. Mine Safety and Well being Administration (MSHA) gave Massey three “Sentinels of Security” awards, probably the most any mining company had ever acquired in a single year. These recognize, as the NPRA and MMS awards do, low levels of misplaced-time accidents. “At Massey Power, we embrace our commitment to security in any respect levels – from government to miner. The Sentinels of Security awards mirror the company’s dedication to safety at all of our services,” Blankenship said six months before the worst mining disaster in 40 years killed 29 Massey staff.

After two Massey miners suffocated in 2006, the corporation pleaded guilty and paid $4.2 million in criminal fines and civil penalties – the most important settlement in coal business history — for willful violation of obligatory safety requirements. By a rely the United Mine Staff of America carried out, 52 folks have been killed on Massey Power properties prior to now decade. UMWA President Cecil Roberts petroleum products for hair 60 referred to as Massey mines essentially the most dangerous in America.

And but, Blankenship touts Massey’s security awards. Like BP and Tesoro.
The standards for these prizes must change to cease deluding staff and deceiving the general public. No agency or affiliation ought to ever once more laud workplaces that are lax on meeting course of safety administration standards.

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