What Can Your Organization Learn from the Deepwater Horizon Disaster?

By Scott Gaddis and Graham Freeman

The Deepwater Horizon disaster has left an indelible mark on the field of health and safety. The images and footage of the massive oil rig engulfed in flames and slipping under the water are both emotionally powerful and a searing indictment of the mechanical and organizational failures that led to the tragedy.

The mechanical failures at the heart of the explosion are well-documented. A surge of hydrocarbons overwhelmed the malfunctioning blowout preventer (BOP) and travelled 18,000 feet to the rig, where they ignited and caused an untameable fire that killed 11 workers and injured 16 more. The open well dispersed approximately five million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico over the next three months, leading to one of the worst environmental disasters in history. By 2017, British Petroleum (BP) had already spent approximately 62 billion dollars working to mitigate the impact of … Read more...

Applying lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy

Though it has fallen off the mainstream news cycle, Hurricane Sandy continues to be felt throughout the northeastern seaboard. The cleanup is an ongoing effort, many are still without homes, and federal and state governments still struggle to get aid to those most affected. In the midst of all this, some are contemplating a permanent move from the region, anticipating Sandy is simply a harbinger of future, more severe storms.

On the eve of a legendary benefit concert poised to raise millions in support of Sandy relief, where sheer spectacle is bound to provide a welcome distraction from post-storm woes, it’s worth revisiting what lessons can actually be learned from the event, and applied to mitigate the impacts of future storms. While public safety is an obvious topic of discussion, what’s not assessed as regularly is the occupational health and safety component, and how preparedness can be extended outside the … Read more...