Understaffing Causes Lack of Safety, Company Fined $9.5Million

Industry has faced budget cuts and layoffs caused by the poor economic environment.  Many companies have taken some serious shortcuts, like cutting safety training and not staying up to date with reporting, just to save money.

One Houston-based company is facing criminal convictions and will be paying $9.5 Million in fines.   The oil and gas services company falsified safety inspections due to time constraints and insufficient labor.  Additionally, the company was involved in an offshore Sparks Fly as Worker Cuts Boltsexplosion killing three and spilling oil into the Gulf of Mexico.  A supervisor decided to not issue hot-work permits and discontinued daily toolbox meetings.  The supervisor delegated these items to a lesser experienced employee.  Because of this, employees began welding activities on piping that had contained hydrocarbons, thus igniting and creating an explosion.

Lesson Learned: A Disregard for Safety Leads to Catastrophic Disasters

The key take away here is that a lack of resources can quickly back fire.  Eliminating safety procedures and training causes serious repercussions, and companies can face criminal charges and fines.   If the company mentioned above had adequate staffing, they may have not needed to falsify safety inspections and reports.  Additionally, the supervisor would have been able to properly train the employee he or she delegated tasks to.

Consider how much employee injuries cost your company before making any major decisions regarding staffing or work place safety.  OSHA has a good tool to estimate what it could cost your company if an employee were to get hurt.  It includes direct costs, indirect costs and additional sales to recoup those costs based on an estimated profit margin.   This tool offers a bigger picture when considering safety and your bottom line. Check it out here.

Need advice on safety?  Contact SRP today at (866) 222-4972!

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