Thursday, August 11, 2005

No wonder no one wants to report accidents

From Anonymous:

Reporting the acid accident got one of the participants put on administrative leave -- usually a prelude to some sort of punishment up to and including termination. No wonder no one wants to report accidents. It is like offering oneself up for sacrifice.

A more intelligent appoach to safety incidents would not punish those who are involved unless they blatantly ignored known safety procedures. Of course, those who blatantly ignore safety procedures would never report accidents under any circumstances.

The only way LANL will get employees to report accidents would be to grant them immunity from punishment for doing so. The use of the carrot is not something LANL management knows anything about. LANL management believes in the stick only.

Anonymous said:
"The only way LANL will get employees to report accidents would be to grant them immunity from punishment for doing so."

That's the way it was twenty years ago when I was a safety officer. We shared accident reports from groups, the Lab, and other parts of the complex and military. There was never a question of assigning blame. No one was punished. We simply shared lessons learned with our own groups and each other.

In the last few years making someone pay has become more important than trying to make sure the incident does not happen again. This is not our culture. It has become the culture of the government.
From what I understand, these guys blantantly violated safety rules for required ventilation. The ventilation system specifically required and designed to sweep these fumes away was not operational and they all apparently knew it. Regardless if they were pressured or even directed to mix the chemical, they clearly had to be aware of the coming reaction and resulting chemical reaction. These are Post-Docs!!! They are supposed to be really smart guys.

Accident reporting requirements were very clearly spelled out to people during the stand-down and are part of new employee orientation. They knew they screwed up and tried to cover it up.

This doesn't appear to be an innocent act of down-trodden workers. This smells more of a "let's get'er done" attitude or deadline panic. Either way, I don't want to work around folks like that.

What choices are the "incompetent management team" left with??? Had they immediately reported the accident and sought immediate LANL emergency care perhaps the real stroy would be more evident. Instead we have specualtive blogging.

Call a spade a spade!! These guys screwed up and deserve the hook!

As a final thought - what does it take to get fired at LANL? Even an embarrassing visit to the lying to the media and filing a false police report about a beating at a local strip club doesn't do it. Then what, what does it take.

I think LANL takes it up the wazoo too often and doesn't fight back more directly.
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