Oil Spill: Helping or Hurting

As I’ve said before, I know a little something about managing a “break/fix” situation.  And from where I’m sittin’ BP ain’t doin’ a very good job.  Now I’m not plugged into the information like I would be if this occurred on my watch at work, but there seem to be key components missing in this effort.

I’m not getting the feeling that information is being communicated effectively.  For example, we still don’t know how much oil is entering the gulf each day, in short, we don’t know how big or small the leak is.  Unacceptable.

Next, it feels that we’re working in serial.  We have one solution that is dreamed up, prepped, deployed and then monitored.  When that doesn’t work, we go back to the beginning and start over.  Fresh.

But I think that where the effort is going wrong is in the mitigation aspect.  Now look, fixing broken things is a tough deal.  You have to weigh the probability of success vs. the damage being done vs impact of getting it wrong.  Sometimes the right decision is to try to work around the break before acting to repair.  There are all kinds of aspects to consider.

Including taking care of the people who are taking care of you.  Or in the case of BP, not taking care of those people:

LAFITTE, La. —More and more stories about sick fishermen are beginning to surface after the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The fishermen are working out in the Gulf — many of them all day, every day — to clean up the spill. They said they blame their ailments on the chemicals that BP is using.

There may be good reasons why BP needs to use these chemicals.  Oil is organic, and organic dispersants may very well be required.  But BP ought, Ought, to be providing the workers the equipment they need to work safely:

According to Burris, some equipment was donated to workers in Lafitte, but as far as he can tell BP hasn’t added anything to the mix.

It would seem that BP needs to do better.

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