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Just catching up a bit, but I stalled at Ken's statements about how the
people on the rigs "should" have acted, esp. considering everyone has a
My take (I just got a job after 1.5 years off): I'll stand up for what's
right, but not at the risk of my job. Anyone else noticed that there are a
lot of people in the gulf complaining that the gov had stopped shallow
drilling permits for a short time? Or even that one of our members owned
stock in a similar company and said to take a step back?
I guess if a decision involved any possibility of damage to the environment
I'd act differently, as I'm somewhat of a tree-hugger, but you're asking an
enormous amount of responsibility from people who're probably focused on
more immediate concerns, and don't really have the final say. As a cognitive
psychologist, I'd also add that a lot of conditions can affect how well we
process complex information.
Points being (I could go on about this catastrophe at length, especially how
this isn't just a gulf coast tragedy):
1. I doubt that manuals are easily available to people on deep well oiling
rigs. They probably should be, and personnel should probably be equipped
with "phones' or something that can access them at will, but anyone who's
kept in touch can probably come up with as many reasons as I can that they
don't. (Last on the list is whether people will read the manual. It's easy
to blame the point man, but how much pull do they have?)
2. Other points aside, does anyone have info about how well written any
applicable manuals are? Given that "you" write good ones, how about those
who write any of the myriad manuals that might apply in this situation? And
by the way, which one applies? Is there one that takes everything into
account? Is every person in any type of responsibility given a call on these
Get real people. This is risk taking at monumental levels, and it's done
because the risk is financially affordable. I apologize to our dear list
owner if I've overstepped, but manuals aside, this is a huge issue that
impacts us all beyond them. If you're going to bring it down to what we do,
let's talk about usability and promoting ways to get the information to
people in a way that they can use.
On Thu, Jun 10, 2010 at 3:33 PM, McLauchlan, Kevin <
Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com> wrote:
> Given that the scenario below is true, it says all that
> needs to be said about the documentation angle.
> That is, this kind of thing has happened over and over
> and over in various industries and other environments,
> and the incidents - somebody overrode good sense and
> established procedure, there was an argument, authority
> prevailed - have been endlessly presented in the various
> media, including print, broadcast, and online. Yet here
> were these guys on the rig following exactly the
> historic scenario and NOT taking the elementary precautions
> a) recording the scene (who DOESN'T have a cellphone capable
> of at least still photos, if not several minutes of video??)
> b) getting a signature on a brief statement of the override
> You can't tell me you get to be a rig boss and not have
> both the smarts and the self-confidence to push back (hell,
> they were reportedly having a loud argument, so _somebody_
> was pushing back) to say: "Yessir! I'll be happy to
> override/bypass procedure on your authority if you'll just
> sign here, and here, and put your thumb-print in this space."
> So that leaves only the horrible realization that everybody
> on the rig has never read a newspaper, viewed a newscast,
> etc., and have learned nothing from history. Thus I surmise
> that the chance they'd notice - let alone actually read -
> a dense manual of procedures, is vanishingly small.
> No techwriter can get past that kind of impenetrable unwillingness.
> Only an enforced culture change can do that.
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From:
> > techwr-l-bounces+kevin -dot- mclauchlan=safenet-inc -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr
> -l.com [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+kevin.mclauchlan<techwr-l-bounces%2Bkevin.mclauchlan>=safenet->
> inc -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of Ken Poshedly
> > Sent: Thursday, June 10, 2010 2:57 PM
> > To: Combs, Richard; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> > Subject: Re: Unsubstantiated and/or false allegations (was
> > RE: Nobody reviewed the manuals)
> > I recall hearing an interview on the radio several weeks ago
> > where an employee of the operating company described a
> > meeting on the rig also attended by what he called "the
> > company man"; he later said that meant a "BP representative"
> > who had total authority to make things happen the way BP wanted.
> > In the interview, the first guy describes a drilling
> > procedure being discussed and how the BP rep said that no,
> > and that the procedure would be done differently. The first
> > guy described how the BP procedure was recognized as
> > hazardous by the rig workers and how a rather loud argument
> > ensued, but with BP getting its way in the end.
> > I just don't remember if the contested procedure was for
> > actually capping or drilling, but in any case, BP -- which
> > pays the bills -- was said to act with great disregard for
> > people and safe procedures (at least by those who worked the rig).
> > Sorry I can't be more specific.
> > -- Ken in Atlanta
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