Monday, May 17, 2010
Somebody needs to crack some heads
There's a rig even larger than Deepwater about 150 miles south of New Orleans called Atlantis and from initial reports could dwarf the current spill by many more millions of gallons.
Here's my prospective from the work I've done in hazardous waste over the last many years. An environmental technician either industrial hygenist or other certified tech goes to the site to do an assessment of the work to be done checking for all the nasties that a worker may come into contact. An estimator determines the work to be done and the manner it's to be done by state and federal laws and regulations. The supervisor studies the estimators reports and makes a work plan and estimates material and manpower needed. He's also responsible for all the safety issues, monitoring the hazardous materials to make sure neither his workers nor the public is exposed to the hazards. It's really important that the supervisor keep track of process and any changes that might occur for worker safety. The amount of documents that must be filed would fill an entire drawer of a filing cabinet. All of this must be maintained on a daily basis so that in the event of an accident there is documentation that may be reviewed in court.
With all of this in mind when an inspector, state or federal, comes to a job site the first thing that's looked at is the paperwork. If that is not in order or missing then the entire site is investigated for violations. Or at least that's the way it's supposed to work. Not so with BP. There was missing documentation. If they are so "anal" about having all their paperwork in order as one person in the article mentioned then why was it missing? I've done jobs where there was three to four copies of daily reports required and if something wasn't filed at the right time then work stopped. BP seems to think that they can just make up the rules as they go along. When they don't like a rule they just ignore it then stonewall the issue. And that's not hard when you have the regulators in your pocket.
So where do we go with this situation? In my opinion we really don't need to change the rules just add one or two and enforce the ones we have. I see the head of Mining and Mineral Safety just resigned today. That's a good start.