Just how many injuries would workers hide to see a company’s CEO look silly while dancing? It’s an interesting question given OSHA’s current opinion about safety incentives and a company involved in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Transocean, an offshore drilling company, is a business partner with BP in connection with the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that exploded, killing 11 workers and sending huge, unknown amounts of oil into the ocean.
Just two years ago, the Minerals Management Service (MMS), the federal agency that enforces safety rules on oil rigs, gave Transocean a top safety award for a “perfect performance period.”
The performance of the MMS itself has already been called into question. The Obama administration says it will reform the agency.
Now, consider a video, posted by the company, in its online magazine. In it, Transocean chief executive Steven Newman is seen dancing at a company gathering in Mumbai last year.
Newman was reportedly making good on a promise to dance if the India Division team posted a top safety record two years running.
So here’s the question: Who would want to be the worker or workers who get injured and ruin the chances of seeing the CEO look silly?
This is the sort of safety incentive being called into question by OSHA administrator David Michaels.
Michaels says safety programs should focus on reducing hazards, not rewarding a decline in injuries.
The OSHA administrator suggests workers will hide injuries to get safety rewards, such as dinners or gift cards.
No word on whether Newman’s offer of dancing would be the sort of incentive that Michaels wants to discourage, but it seems to fit into the category. There’s also a report that the company had scheduled a lavish luncheon honoring safety award winners on May 3, which was canceled after the rig disaster.
The Newman video isn’t the only one uncovered recently as the news media seek to learn more about Transocean.
Workers at the Deepwater Horizon rig made a video about hand safety a year ago. The video uses hip-hop music. Transocean pulled the video off its website after the rig explosion.
Was Transocean sending the wrong messages to its workers about safety by offering incentives, such as the CEO’s dance and the lavish award lunch? Let us know what you think in the Comments Box below.