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April 06, 2012



I think it's super important to coeidsnr how citation opportunities might differ between companies, refinery types, etc. in making these comparisons. Perhaps not all violations are equally likely to result in citations being issued? Differences in man-hours, HR policies, etc. might bias the use of citations per barrel as an informative measure of company safety.


Open question: does it maettr that the BP disaster was at a production site, and the data are about refineries? On the one hand, attention to safety might be presumed to be similar across different parts of the firm. But on the other, this still doesn't speak to BP's practices in running its production as opposed to refining facilities. Presumably the underlying claim is that the spill could have been prevented if BP were not reckless and negligent, but these data on refineries don't directly support such a statement.Relevance of data is as importance as accuracy of the data.


Well, I think we all agree that this data analysis is inseiettrng and warrants further study. The other thing on my mind is the possibility of a small numbers issue here. One comparison could be the US airline industry. The FAA produces a large number of warnings, levies some moderate number of fines, but there are relatively few catastrophic accidents. Just because an airline received a large number of warnings or even a large fine does not necessary translate to the number of catastrophic incidents (which is a very small number).Is the same true for the oil industry? Don't know the answer! However, if someone wants to fund an independent agency/thinktank to look at these types of issues, I would gladly work there.


Uh, did you guys even grasp what this ruling is about? I don't know anything about OSHA, but it looks like this was a ruling about "reporting" violations not actual safety violations. I imagine a continuing safety violation would still have the longer time period. And in fact, the agency ruling isn't so far fetched as if a company continuously fails to report as they should the issue is one of statutory interpretation of what is a continuous trend of violations or what is discrete. This higher court thought a reporting violation was discrete and therefore time-barred. I'd have to read the opinion to see why they decided the way they did. Their decision has the advantage of drawing a bright line as to when reporting violations may be brought. It has the disadvantage of letting companies get away with a possible long set of reporting violations without any consequence. So it's not about common sense Larry, as the language in the statute could probably go either way. The higher court had to just choose.


I definately agree with this ruling. To be honest I don't think OSHA should have 6 months to leave the contractor in the dark about Safety Violations.

OSHA purpose is "assure so far as possible every working man and woman in the Nation safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our human resources"

When OSHA takes 6 months to come back with a finding too often (especially in construction) the job has finished or the tasks have completely changed. During that 6 months workers could have been exposed to the hazard over and again for which the company will be cited for half a year later. OSHA should be required to give a general synopsis of safety violations found if not by the end of the visit, the end of the following week at the latest. Otherwise I see them as a tool to collect money, not a tool to preserve our human resources

brian oberle

we have long thought that if an issue is serious in nature it should be disclosed to the employer almost immediately, not 174 days past the single occurrence, which is what happens here in Wis all the time, the "we are busy, too" excuse gets real old, thanks, bto

Larry B. Heischman

Wow there is still common sense in the land, you just have to keep going until you find it. My hat is off to the Volks for having the courage and the money to keep going until common sense showed up.

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