Bad Writing Contest, Take 2

Issue 3 and Volume 108.

Editor’s Note: In the November issue of Power Engineering, we requested submissions for what we called a Bad Writing Contest. This contest recognizes the fact that engineers, scientists and managers sometimes produce technical copy that is “grammatically convoluted” at best, and downright awful at worst. Here are some of the best (worst?) submissions.

Person in Charge

The paragraph below is taken from a 25-page document written by a utility’s environmental group detailing the requirements and duties of a “responsible manager.” This paragraph, specifically, describes how to determine the “person in charge” during an environmental “event.”

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Ultimately, the “person in charge” is the company. However, the “person in charge” can be anyone with control over the materials involved, from a first-line supervisor to the CEO. Any person with profit and loss responsibility over the activity involved with the materials could qualify as a “person in charge.” There can be more than one “person in charge” for each spill. Environmental Services is a staff function without profit and loss responsibility or control. The “person in charge” can delegate authority for reporting releases to the Environmental Services department, but the law may not recognize it as a delegation of responsibility; that is, if there is delay in contacting Environmental Services or if Environmental Services fails to properly report, the “person in charge” is still held responsible. Therefore, although Environmental Services is willing to report releases, it is important for managers to understand how to perform this responsibility themselves, because the responsibility cannot be delegated. This guide refers to the “person in charge” as a “responsible manager.” However, the determination as to who is the “person in charge” will depend on the specific circumstances.

Equipment Manual

This is the introduction to a specialized equipment manual:

The purpose of this manual is to emulate the collaborated efforts of the individualized specialists, who through their multitude of industrial experience, put together this manual to help their less experienced colleagues achieve a fundamental understanding of the basics and know-how of this specialized equipment, for the purposes of operating and maintaining it in good working order for safe and reliable operations, throughout the entire useful operating life of the same.

Editor’s note: Corporate communications has evolved to the point where it seems the highest and most common use of e-mail is the dissemination of jokes and humor stories to business acquaintances around the world. Power Engineering has collected a number of such communications from many anonymous e-mail sources and will present them in this space for your enjoyment. We welcome your contributions of engineering, technology or business related humorous pieces to [email protected], but please do not send copyrighted material.