Moerdijk redux

08 December 2011 - The Law of the Land

This blog has been commenting on a particular ferocious fire that consumed chemical packaging company Chemie-Pack on January 5 2011 here and here. The aftermath of this disaster (nobody was hurt though) proved just as exhilarating as the initial fireworks. The company went bankrupt but not before a lot of quarrelling with regards to the damage to the environment and clean-up costs. And now the public prosecutor has stepped in.

We know what caused the fire. An employee was tasked with the job of transferring a resin from one container to another with the aid of a pneumatic pump (source: NOS). The day was cold, the pump refused to work and the employee decided to defrost it with a gas burner. The pump caught fire.

The employee was experienced (13 years on the job), survived the first round of job redundancies and kept his mouth shut until finally confessing to the police after multiple interrogations. And guess who stands trial as of this week? Not the employee who was granted immunity in exchange for his confession but three members of the former senior management (NOS BNdeStem). In addition to procedural offences they are charged with arson (!). According to the public prosecutor the employee is not to blame because his action were inspired by company culture.

Regardless of the outcome of this trial (this blog will keep you posted) micromanagers around the country must feel vindicated. Of course ordinary employees are nothing but dumb zombies incapable of original thought and (safe) creative solutions. As a micromanager you cannot possibly transfer any responsibility and you have to well.. huh micromanage them. Dumb Chemie-Pack management.