Sunday, April 3, 2011

And yet they wonder why

The BBC news reported today that Transocean, the company charged with running the operation of the Deepwater Horizon, the drilling platform that caught fire, exploded and sank, killing nine workers and creating the worst oil spill in history, awarded bonuses to the "top executives" for their outstanding safety record last year.

Now, if that statement doesn't seem somehow completely wrong, then...well, I have no idea what has happened to our value system.

According to the report

Notwithstanding the tragic loss of life in the Gulf of Mexico, we achieved an exemplary statistical safety record as measured by our total recordable incident rate and total potential severity rate.

As measured by these standards, we recorded the best year in safety performance in our company's history, which is a reflection on our commitment to achieving an incident free environment, all the time, everywhere.

This is more or less like saying, except for the fact that your whole family was wiped out in a terrible house fire, we had a really good year in preventing fatal house fires.  Somehow, that logic just doesn't work.

I have some serious problems with executive salaries, perks, and bonuses in many situations, but this is just beyond the pale.  How can anyone, with an ounce of moral fiber, accept a bonus for such a performance standard?

It is sometimes observed that statistics can be manipulated to show anything.  That's sometimes true, an apparently this is an excellent example of such spinning.  It is impossible to discuss the real numbers and what they might show as a trend.  However, given the disaster, and I don't use that term lightly, of last year, I don't think the "safety record" for last year was anything to reward.

It's a bit like saying "we didn't create as much damage as the situation in Japan."  That might be accurate, but irrelevant.

In this case, common sense...well, in this case, there clearly is no common sense.

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