Monday, March 5, 2012

Well, I certainly feel safe

So we're loading at a refinery that is in the process of being shut down, you know, since the price of gas is so low and there's just so much available for cheap.

I'm listening to the safety manager attempt to hold a refinery-wide safety drill. He's spent the last 15 minutes asking for all persons-in-charge to press their unit's evacuation alarm. Apparently not everyone is getting the point, as I see some guys having a smoke break in the distance, waving their arms and chatting companionably.

But I get the point. If you're laying off 90% of your employees over the next few months, and not telling them when their pin is being pulled, people are going to lose interest in procedures.
Here's why I am empathetic, despite the horrific implications to safety:
This company is having rolling layoffs. The layoffs come with a modest severance package. The people who WILL be laid off in the next year were informed. If they find work before they are laid off, they lose the severance package. If they voluntarily pull the pin, they're not going to get Unemployment. Apparently they are not being informed in advance of when they will be laid off, just that, at some shift change in the next 12 months they're outie. In this way, no one can prepare for their job loss OR jump ship until The Company has truly gotten enough squeak out of the hamster. Who is going to hire you if you don't know when you can start your job.
Given that, I'd be tempted to yell 'every man for himself' during a safety drill, too.

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