Re: Ski lift accident investigation

Subject: Re: Ski lift accident investigation
From: Steven Jong <stevefjong -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Sun, 12 Jun 2011 23:13:32 -0400

Thanks for sharing that, Bobbi! We've long recognized that technical communication can reduce support costs, but there are other ways we can earn our keep, and preventing accidents is one of them.

For a negative example, the investigation of the Gulf oil spill revealed inadequate technical documentation on several levels, including inadequate safety procedures that didn't clearly direct them to shut everything down while they had the chance, and outdated engineering drawings of the blowout preventer that blocked the rig operators from getting it to work. In fact, I suggested that STC do a press release commenting one this and pointing out that trained technical communicators could have helped. The staff wisely ignored my suggestion; what if it had turned out that the drawings and procedures had been done by STC members? (Shudder...)

But there are better examples that point to the risk and potential cost of missing or inadequate technical documentation. Businessmen have actually gone to jail because of bad documentation! This is another pillar on which we can build our value proposition: Hey, CEO! We can keep you from paying huge fines , and we might even keep your butt out of jail! It may not be a noble message, but it's an effective one 8^)

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