The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

BP Spill:
Workers Need to Manage the Managers

Apr 15, 2013

The court cases go on against BP, Halliburton, and Transocean for their liability in the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill. BP’s rig caught fire and killed 11 workers. Then it released massive oil pollution, impacting the livelihoods of tens of thousands in the Gulf of Mexico fishing industry.

Among other things, court testimony so far has revealed that rig managers ordered a gas alarm system disabled. They also did not install the required pipe systems to divert oil overflows off the rig.

And a Halliburton laboratory manager was told NOT to prepare the normal laboratory worksheet when he tested the well-sealing cement after the accident, and not to keep his lab notes. Better to have no evidence than to have evidence that the cement mix was unstable and likely to fail – as they knew.

For managers, this is nothing but normal everyday behavior. Every day, everywhere, workers are put at risk by similar dangerous actions by managers who are under the gun to make production, numbers, profits, and damn the consequences.

The only ones who are going to guarantee safe workplaces are the workers themselves. No one else is interested. Workers need to develop ways of managing their managers!