When you get down to the nitty gritty at that tragedy at BP oil disaster recently and lay all of the evidence on a scale, it took a whole lot of little things coming together to create that tragedy. For instance there may be the matter of some bad wiring, a dead battery, a leak in a blowout preventer, sealing problems that may have allowed a methane eruption.and on and on and on. Of course there are all sorts of scenarios will be presented as the investigation goes on and on and on. I recall going to the scene of a bad train derailment. There were no injuries but both main line tracks were torn up and there were a long string of cars on the ground. I didn’t know a whole lot about investigating such a mess but I found it amusing to listen to the top officials from each department explain to me that the other department was responsible. The transportation department said it was faulty rails or defective equipment.. The equipment department explained that it was a combination of bad track and excessive speed. And of course, the track department was certain that it was either the transportation departments fault or that of the equipment department. I wrote down on my report that it was evidently an “act of God.” Just possibly a bad wheel hit a bad spot of track at an excessive speed and the car derailed bringing its buddies along with it. Often two or three of eighteen or twenty little things get together and turn into something very big.
This BP disaster certainly is a big one. Quite possibly it will turn into exhibit #1 at any future hearing regarding the drilling of more off shore oil wells. It just might have a big, big impact on the future of energy in America.
Back years ago, generally, everybody on the railroad just got to work, cleaned up the mess and went on with the chore of running the railroad.
When you look at most disasters there are a combination of things, little things, that got together to create a volatile situation. And that, my friend, is why little safety rules need to be enforced, little inspections have to be made on time and carefully, and little people like you and I are important when it comes to the big picture of making safety work. What can you learn from this mess, and what are you going to do about it?