Not too long ago, my trusty Office Depot desk calendar informed me that National Boss Day was upcoming. I don’t know who organizes these things, but having a work-related “day” on a Saturday seems inappropriate — kind of like inviting your family to work for Thanksgiving lunch.
Anyway, the nature of the boss-employee relationship can be a turbulent one; rarely will you find a worker who can say they agree with every decision their employer ever made. I’ve been lucky to work in places where new ideas are welcomed and healthy debate is as entertaining as it is constructive. In fact, it’s not uncommon for me to tell my editorial director that “I’m not going to jail for you, or anyone!”
As someone who constantly reads and writes about the processing industry, but works in an office, I feel like I’m removed from one of the day-to-day issues that faces our readers: safety. For anyone that works in a plant, the actions of their superiors can be the difference between life and death.
We often cover explosions, fires and HAZMAT incidents at processing plants in the hope that readers will learn from other people’s mistakes. With hindsight, these incidents are usually preventable, but not the result of gross negligence. Occasionally, we come across stories of plant managers that simply ignore warning signs — a combination of incompetence, laziness, corruption and/or a reluctance to spend money that results in death.
Police in Hungary detained the managing director of the aluminum company responsible for the flood of toxic red sludge that killed eight people on suspicion of public endangerment and environmental damage. Aerial photographs of the reservoir, taken months before the catastrophe, clearly show a breach in the dam wall, but it appears that company officials ignored the problem.
In June, a plant manager in Ohio was charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, criminal endangering and environmental violations after a worker was overcome by toxic gas.
The good news is that these incidents are rare because your boss values you and your safety. Next time National Boss Day rolls around, thank your boss for not directly causing your death, and tell him or her to take the rest of the day off.
What do you have planned for National Boss Day? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.