Shifting the blame following a worker's death.
If you've ever lost someone to a workplace fatality. You already know how much harder surviving the loss becomes with each company statement issued to the media. All of us here at Screw You Construction are extremely sorry for your loss John Doe will be greatly missed by all of us and rest assured we will do everything in our power to asses what caused the accident while conducting our own investigation into whether or not John Doe was following all safety procedures.
To the untrained eye statements such as these appear professionally sympathetic demonstrating just enough corporate concern to create less focus on the fatality itself while tossing out the subtlest of hints that employee error had a role in the incident. But for those directly affected statements like these are a brutal and unnecessary infliction of additional grief at their most vulnerable point.
Just imagine for a moment John doe is your family friend or coworker and read the company statement again.
It's a slap in the face designed to take the emotional to irrational.
To ensure that if anyone should want to come forward with conflicting yet accurate information the chances of anyone listening is very unlikely. I've seen it so many times more than I can count. In-fact this technique is used so often that in the 7 years I have been involved with Health & Safety/Workplace Fatalities I have only come across two out of over 42,000 instances where this technique wasn't used.
Over the years I've repeatedly questioned how and why corporations are able to get away with this behavior. And finally I was given the answer. The medias main source of information following a workplace tragedy MUST begin with the most direct source AKA the Company.
Okay that part I knew. But what I did not know is that the media source can be held liable in a court of law for withholding and/or not including any & all company statements verbatim from its report.
Which is why any dispute of company statements must include some form of legal documentation proving that they are not based on hearsay. Regardless of whether the the first source of information was legitimate or not. Without which the source can also be sued. Rarely will you find anyone who is willing to risk taking that chance.
So the next time you run across a story like the one that prompted me to write this
Remember that the closest source to the story is not what one should consider the most accurate and learning how to read between the lines is often our best resource for seeking the truth.
So the next time a corporation releases a statement downplaying it's role in the death of three workers in under a year
Such as CES Environmental Services Inc did today claiming the $1,477,500 in penalties issued by OSHA in connection with 17 allegedly willful violations and 54 allegedly serious violations are NOT justified intending to contest them vigorously.
The statement given to the media claiming that
"CES works diligently to ensure the safety of its many employees in Houston and Port Arthur. It is a shame that overzealous regulators are continuing to harass a business that has done its best to provide an essential industrial service here in Houston."
Is nothing more than corporate trickery designed to detour the public from reading between the lines...
Translation Waaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh Stop harassing us by doing your job OSHA! Or we'll tell everyone how dedicated you are in your attempts to seek some kind of justice for the 3 life's needlessly lost in in 2009 due to our blatant and negligent disregard for workplace safety
Here's a thought... Perhaps CES Environmental Services Inc should just stop endangering/killing workers if they don't like the attention! I'm just sayin'