Saturday, April 2, 2011

Worker Safety in America

Back when I was a young lad entering the corporate work-a-day world, we could do all sorts of crazy things to get the job done and we did. Sometimes we risked life and limb to perform tasks that were not worth risking life or limb or even toe nail.
By the time I retired from the corporate world, a worker couldn't wipe his ass without getting a permit signed off by two managers, three safety officers and a local constable. . . I exaggerate, but it was cumbersome. The up side is that while back when I entered the work force the old guys all had storied of being hurt and maimed on the job. I even remember a couple deaths at our company plants in the early years. By the 80s, most of that had stopped. You just had to work real hard at hurting yourself with all the OSHA regulations and company safety procedures in place. When I entered the wor force our safety manual was a pamphlet. When I left it was a 4" three ring binder that was constantly updated requiring sections to be replaced and added almost monthly.

All of that increased safety awareness was a result of gov't policy. OSHA made companies quit killing employees. They made it tough on companies when employees were hurt and required strict adherence to reporting procedures of safety records. Safety became a priority in the workplace because the gov't mandated that it would be.

Now, here in WV we have an acting governor that doesn't believe in workplace safety. In fact, he has gutted the only state agency that handles general workplace safety. Gee, I wonder who's paying his salary? certainly not the tax payers or the workers of the state. Who does that leave? One can only imagine what kind of payoff this low life political bottom feeder is receiving for wiping out the only state agency standing between WV corporations and a dangerous workplace. Nice job you back woods piece of shit.

Labor upset over Tomblin's cuts in workplace safety
By Paul J. Nyden

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin, acting as governor, recently cut funding by 75 percent for the Occupational Safety and Health program that inspects and regulates working conditions for state employees.
Created in 1987, the state OSHA program has never been fully funded. This year, state legislators voted to increase financial support for the program.

Earlier this year, state Labor Commissioner Dave Mullens said his agency needed $800,000 in startup money for OSHA enforcement, including salaries for 11 new field safety inspectors, office furniture and computers.

The House of Delegates passed legislation including that $800,000. The Senate reduced it to $400,000. Then Tomblin's line-item veto cut it down to $98,500, none of which can be used to hire safety inspectors.

Then we have the company that brought us the Gulf of Mexico oil rig disaster this past summer. The worse oil spill in history and the place where 11 workers were blown to pieces when the rig blew up.
The corporate executives of this company received huge "safety bonuses" for ""exemplary" safety record because it met or exceeded certain internal safety targets." Well, I guess those "safety targets" didn't include "don't kill any employees." In other words, employees are expendable. I'm wondering, just what were these safety targets? Let's see, they blew up an entire oil rig, so it couldn't have been about preservation of corporate material resources. They killed 11 Gulf oil rig workers, so it couldn't have been about preserving the lives of their workers. They had the worse oil spill in history, so it couldn't have been about adherence to environmental regulations. . . WTF?!

Transocean gives safety bonuses despite deaths

By JORDAN ROBERTSON, AP Business Writer – Sat Apr 2, 4:26 pm ET
SAN FRANCISCO – Transocean Ltd. gave its top executives bonuses for achieving the "best year in safety performance in our company's history" — despite the explosion of its oil rig that killed 11 people and spilled 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
The company said in a regulatory filing that its most senior managers were given two thirds of their total possible safety bonus.
Transocean noted "the tragic loss of life" in the Gulf when the rig operated by BP PLC exploded last April. But it said the company still had an "exemplary" safety record because it met or exceeded certain internal safety targets concerning the frequency and severity of its accidents, according to the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday.
Safety accounts for a quarter of the executives' total cash bonuses. The total bonus for CEO Steve Newman last year was $374,062.
According to calculations by The Associated Press, the total value the company assigned to Newman's compensation package was $5.8 million.
That figure includes an $850,000 base salary — a 34 percent increase from the prior year; perquisites of $622,057, which includes housing and vacation allowances, among other things; and the $374,062 bonus. Also included in the figure are stock options valued at $1.9 million and deferred shares valued at $2 million when those awards were granted in March 2010.
Transocean's Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion on April 20 in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 workers and set off the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
A commission appointed by President Barack Obama earlier this year said the explosion was caused by a series of time and money-saving decisions by Transocean, BP and oil services company Halliburton Inc. that created an unacceptable amount of risk.

Welcome to The United States of Corporate America.

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