18 comments on “Timmy elsewhere

  1. Especially the American oil industry, and even more especially the American onshore oil industry. Describing them as cowboys does a disservice to ranchers.

  2. Not my experience, TimN, but it was a while ago.

    I’ve not got time to read the pdf today but accident statistics need to be handled with tongs. Have they corrected for sex and age profile, idiocy and blatant disregard of company procedures? Have they classed transport accidents as O&G if they were transporting fuel? etc.

  3. “Describing them as cowboys”: exactly what my section head said thirty-odd years ago, after returning from a couple of years in Texas. I particularly relished his tail of firemen blowing themselves up by smoking while hosing off some overturned propane cars.

  4. Ah. The Hari Habit.

    There’s a classic Johann Hari cockup like this, where he claimed that industrial accidents were a huge problem in an electrical sector blaming management, capitalism etc.

    Turned out that the majority of “industrial accidents” were road accidents.

    Gorgeous.

  5. “And off he goes to blame those elected officials for not hring enough workplace inspectors”

    workplace inspectors = commissars

  6. The leading cause of fatalities in any oil company is always road accidents. But counting road accidents tangentially connected to the oil industry in order to paint the industry as unacceptably dangerous is stupid.

  7. “The leading cause of fatalities in any oil company is always road accidents.” On a site where once I worked, the particular prob was young men without a licence borrowing a chum’s motorbike so that they could whiz around the company’s private roads. Which must have been great fun until hitting a tanker.

  8. Tim Newman – “The leading cause of fatalities in any oil company is always road accidents. But counting road accidents tangentially connected to the oil industry in order to paint the industry as unacceptably dangerous is stupid.”

    Aren’t road accidents the leading cause of death for young American men? So wouldn’t you, you know, expect a fair few of them among a mostly young male work force?

  9. Well, yeah. They are the leading cause of deaths in oil companies because they operate in countries whose leading cause of death is road accidents because of their appalling roads. So nothing to do with their actual operations, but they still register as fatalities in the company.

  10. Tim Newman – “Well, yeah. They are the leading cause of deaths in oil companies because they operate in countries whose leading cause of death is road accidents because of their appalling roads. So nothing to do with their actual operations, but they still register as fatalities in the company.”

    I am sure that appalling roads are a huge problem – especially in rural areas. But I mean in general. I think we are so good at most diseases these days that the leading cause of death for young men in a hugely wide age range, I would guess 16 to 30 even, is car accident and suicide. If you just looked at a random sample of 24 year old American males, car accidents are likely to be the main cause of death. What else do young people die of? And oil companies mostly employ young men.

    We are agreed it is bullsh!t. But I think it is deep bullsh!t. Double downed bullsh!t. The question ought to be what is the increased risk.

  11. Now got in from work and having a quick fisk.

    pdf is from a trade union wingeing about a largely ununionised workforce. (Full disclosure: when I was forced to join a union my day rate went down 10%. I hate them for a reason.)

    Article is the usual anti-America shill writing for an Arab audience. Like, could you compare industrial accidents in Qatar for the f’king soccer with N Dakota?

    Comp payments for death are stated as being statutes
    rates dating from early 20th century. Seriously, does anyone believe these are the real payouts by firms and insurance companies today?

    Some of the more wide awake readers of Al Jazeera might find the statute comp rates (widows pension, support for children, etc) rather better than those in their own country. USA maybe not such a bad place after all?

    Before I blow a fuse I’ll end by pointing out the bleeding obvious. Industrial accidents are f’ing bad for business. It stops work, and usually you still have to pay the idle staff. Of course, if your world view is that nasty capitalist pigs don’t care about anything except the bottom line then you are either an idiot, a Guardian reader, or an accountant in E Anglia.

  12. I did NEBOSH a couple of years ago and despite the bad press it gets in the tabloids HASWA seems to be a remarkably simple and efficient piece of legislation, everything you need to know is encapsulated in just a few lines. Our trainer said it is regarded as the gold standard internationally and in our small group we had a guy who works for Chevron in Africa.

    I often lament when I see H&S getting the blame for something or other in the press, invariably it is nothing to do with HASWA, rather it’s insurance companies who won’t cover certain activities, or over zealous managers thinking they’d get sued for something.

  13. Yeah, I’ve worked under HASAWA (as we then called it); in the hands of sensible people it was fine.

    Many years ago, on switching from a horrible capitalist company to a university lab, I was appalled at the decline in attention to safety. They were many of them, my new colleagues, mutton-headed, reckless and irresponsible.

  14. If you just looked at a random sample of 24 year old American males, car accidents are likely to be the main cause of death. What else do young people die of? And oil companies mostly employ young men.

    Exactly: in most cases, the leading cause of deaths in an oil company is the same leading cause of death of the employee demographic outside the company fence in whatever country they are operating in, i.e. has little to do with their working for an oil company.

  15. Our trainer said it is regarded as the gold standard internationally and in our small group we had a guy who works for Chevron in Africa.

    That’s probably true. The UK HSE regulations for North Sea operators are definitely the gold standard in the world, and adopted wholesale in places like the Middle East and parts of Asia as a result. The Americans, perhaps forgetting that it was one of their own companies who presided over Piper Alpha, failed to adopt the recommended practices of the North Sea in the wake of that disaster, and so continue to shun modern risk-management practices in favour of an archaic system which happens to employ lots of government bureaucrats. Although this is changing in the wake of the Texas City refinery explosion and other fuckups.

    A lot of companies, or subsidiaries, simply adopt the North Sea safety regulations in lieu of any other, confident that they are sufficient to cover their own operations (which is why Chevron might use them in Africa). Don’t get me started on the French, though. When you talk to their operations managers about the North Sea safety techniques that perhaps we ought to consider implementing worldwide, they have *no idea* what you’re even talking about. It’s not disagreement, it’s an utter lack of understanding. Frightening stuff.

  16. How amusing, here at libertarian heaven, that the one piece of legislation that takes so much stick for being responsible for government nannying is the one some of us agree is actually rather good.

    Perhaps it helps that most people I have met who work for the HSE are former industry types who know what they are talking about and move to the HSE towards the end of their careers to wind down and pocket a nice public pension.

  17. The leading cause of American military fatality while deployed in hot zone is also traffic fatality. This does NOT count roadside bomb, just your average traffic accident.

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