I cannot claim credit for the question. Rather, it was asked and caught my eye. In less than a minute I gave Art Reason 11 reasons why NIOSH reports may not be read or taken seriously.
1. Recommendations are believed to be coming from ‘pencil pushers’ and bureaucrats who have an agenda to push.
2. Referenced materials as part of recommendations are considered having very little value; authors of such are considered ‘out of touch with real firefighting’ and are ‘seeking to push their latest book’ or ‘are pushing an agenda.’
3. “NIOSH reports are all the same, just a template with changes in date, location and cause of death.”
4. “Recommendations are unrealistic; cost too much to implement; would shut down the department; are out of touch with actual firefighting.”
5. “Most are for medical reasons, which is the fault of the individual not taking care of themselves.”
6. “How many times do you need to be told to do a 360 or have a RIC?”
7. “That department was screwed up from the beginning; we’re not like that.”
8. Some NIOSH reports involving well-known departments are often discounted because the investigators allegedly did not do a decent interview; did not investigate the people who were actually there (spoke to chiefs only); or are contrary to the department or other independent investigation(s).
9. NIOSH reports come out late, sometimes a year later, and the incident has already be “critiqued to death.”
10. News of the event unfolds rapidly in this day and critiques, both formal and informal, give to greater discussion/debate. Readers minds are generally “made up” about “what went wrong” in short order.
11. Very few people actually take time to read.
I don’t believe I am too far from center in my reasons. The more I think of these reasons, coupled with the answers I read from others, I wonder the following:
– Does NIOSH need to market itself? Should the reports be in greater (or lesser) detail? Is there a true ‘agenda’ in the recommendations presented and among the persons who review the reports prior to release, or is that simply a ‘fire service conspiracy theory’?
My personal take on the NIOSH reports is that I do not read them all in great detail (outside of my employment). If it involves fireground operations, I read them to see what the failures were among the “basics” and for the human behavior significance, which is the catalyst of all my blogging. They were always good for training on or discussing with my duty shift, so long as we could make them fit ‘our world’. The deaths involving medical and physical health, I first skim to see what the individual’s record of health maintenance was and the department’s physical/medical standards. There are only so many ways one can say ‘go to the doctor regularly’.
Look for more on this subject and another look at the 2009 LODDs coming soon.