Friday, April 2, 2010

It's Friday already?

Three people killed at a refinery here. In reading the article I noticed that the company was based in Texas. That figures. Corporate policy from that state never was very safe. The Chemical Saftey Board had just finished a review of another accident down there in Texas when this happened. Can't remember but I think this is their second. There were 17 health and safety violations at this refinery at Antcortes, Wa. Now I've never actually worked up there but I have been in recertification classes with some of their guys. Safety used to be a big thing with them. In order to work there you had to go through a three days safety training program. Oh and let me say this. Labor and Industries gives companies plenty of opportunity to clean up their act. They usually come in and give warnings first time around. Second time it's a $1000 fine that can be appealed and it usually is. Third time the fine goes to $10,000 and after that it goes up ten fold $100K etc. I expect a couple of million dollar fine out of this one which we'll see with higher gas prices.
You'd think they'd get smart and update these refineries. There hasn't been a new one built in the last thirty years or so. All because nobody wants one in their back yard.

I'll get to the bank failures later because they don't get posted until then. Update: No bank failures posted this week.

Update: A total of five workers were killed with two more in critical condition. Doctor reports that the first 48 hours are the most important. If they can survive the first two days then their chances are good.
There was a few items of note in the comments about the costs of safety. Consider this: An L&I claim costs minimum of $1500 per person and that's just for all the paperwork involved. Then there's the medical costs and rehab. Add to that the increase in L&I premiums and that can be a good chunk of change for a company. An hour's worth of safety training can run $50 to $100 per person. So being safe really is cheaper. Most of the companies that I've worked for realize that.

Later and keep your drums upright.


Randal Graves said...

Oh, accidents will happen 47 times.

The best way to hurt rich fuckers is to take away their loot. Or lock them up without access to said loot.
Fines for crap like this are like fining us ten bucks.

BBC said...

I guess there is a couple of different refineries there and every few years there is a major accident at one of them.

Most often it appears, cuz the crews are pushed to keep production deadlines. Production comes before safety as often as not.

While refineries don't exactly set the price of gas, supply and demand and the futures market and other factors do more so.

Refineries do have a little effect on its cost. Repairs after accidents, upgrades, and astronomical settlements lawsuits bring the survivors and families after the accidents and such do drive the cost up some.

I don't know what profit margin a refinery works on, but those things do have to be factored in, and paid for by the consumers.

Big settlements bother me somewhat. I know, people died, but people die every minute on this rock, it's just part of the hazard of living here.

Tim said...


As you probably guessed Safety is a giant concern of mine. For over 20 years I tried to get business to realize Safety doesn't cost,inaction does. No one believed it in management until I could show them this on paper. Bottom line kind of thing. As Randal suggest bottom line is Money for them.
BBC your correct, they push and push to squeeze the "LIFE" out of the people,again for the bottom line. I'm sure you guys know that funding for Safety changes with each election cycle. OSHA was started by Nixon and since then only the Dems. have found enough funding for this program. Republicans seem always to cut it.

BBC said...

Tim, safety does cost. Everything has a cost to it.

Tim said...

If the COST of safety is awareness I don't see the cost.
I could show you statistics but that would be boring.
Breaking it down to the bare...How much does an Injury or death cost compared to doing it safely and right.

S.W. Anderson said...

If anyone doubts how bad it can get when safety considerations get lower priority than minimizing costs, just recall that Alaska Airlines plane that went down off California a few years back. So many lives lost, and almost certainly it never had to happen.

Then there were the miners killed two or three years ago. Same kind of thing.

"Maximizing profit" is just a euphemism for greed, and greed kills.

The Blog Fodder said...

Cheerful notes for an Easter weekend. Sad but all true.

I don't like unions but they are the only way to get some management to listen.