Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Acid Test for Spokesmen

Don't you hate it when one of your employees falls into a vat of acid?

AP today brings us a story  of Martin Davis, a New Jersey worker who fell through  a building's roof, plunged 40 feet and ended up submerged in a tank containing "a 40 to 70 percent nitric acid solution used for cleaning metal tubing."

Rob Nuckols, a quick thinking (and very courageous) co-worker jumped into the vat and helped pull  the roofer out.  Both men survived.

It was a very New Jersey sounding industrial accident.  But why do we at 15-Seconds Blog tell you about it?  Because employees at Swepco, the company which owned the building with the flimsy roof and the tank of toxic stuff beneath it, refused to comment.

We can imagine why. Someone probably suggested that they are going to get sued and it was best to clam up.  If so, they were half right. They almost certainly ARE going to get sued -- but nothing is gained by trying to make the accident look more mysterious than it was.

At a minimum, someone from the company should have expressed their gratitude to Nuckols for getting Davis out of his scrape.  They could have thanked the local first responders who also arrived and hosed down the men and took them to the hospital.  They could have announced their relief that it appears no life-threatening injuries were sustained and they could announce an investigation to see what happened.  None of that would have any impact on a potential lawsuit -- excerpt perhaps to have etched in the public's mind a more favorable impression about the company.

But no -- Swepco took the fifth on the vat. And that's a mistake.


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