1) Would you report this situation to anyone else? If so, who and why?
I will report this situation to OSHA regarding the working condition of this company. OSHA has all the rules and regulations regarding the air quality required in such a company. Some of the wood fiber dusts may be a “carcinogen”. This means that inhaling dust from wood fiber over a long period of time can cause cancer of the lungs (OSHA, 2012). Similarly, according to OSHA, high concentration of dust from wood fiber may be explosive. This contradicts Jason Rhine’s remarks that wood dusts are not explosive. Since Jason is the safety coordinator of the company, he must look into this matter and follow OSHA’s rules and regulations under 1910.307 (a) that lists dust from wood fiber as being very explosive.
2) If you choose not to report the situation, explain your decision.
I will feel highly compelled to report this unsafe working condition within the company. Even if I will receive threats from the senior management, I will still go ahead and report the matter to OSHA. Having previously worked in a hostile and harsh working environment, I have learned that not saying anything or ignoring the problem will only make it worse.
3) What are the possible consequences if you were to report this situation?
There can be very severe consequences from reporting the matter to OSHA. They can fine the company thousands of dollars for all the days it works in this current condition without correcting it. OSHA can just decide to shut the company down if the violation is severe enough. This can make me and fellow employees to be jobless permanently or temporarily.
4) What are the possible consequences if you fail to report the workplace condition?
If I fail to report this condition, I might expose myself and other employees to danger of developing cancer or burning to death in the event of an explosion due to the wood fiber dusts.
5) Let's assume that you have reported the workplace condition. Is this whistleblowing? If so, would it be morally justified in this situation?
I do not think reporting this condition is whistleblowing. Whistle blowing normally causes a person to breach rules rather than to follow them. I will not breach any rule if I decide to report this condition, unless we are living in a socially corrupt and morally ambivalent society.
In the present competitive culture, companies must ensure safety and protection of their employees for smooth operations. Safety and health includes significant parts of work culture. Since work culture must heighten well-being of employees, it must be free from accidents. The terms safety, health and security are related to each other. Health is a general state of well-being, both physical and mental. Safety pertains towards an act of defending the physical well-being of an employee. Furthermore, it involves accidental risks due to machinery, diseases, and fire. Generally, the responsibility of employee’s health along with their safety falls under Human Resource manager or supervisor of the company (Goetsch, 2010).
All the plans and law regarding employee’s safety and health have been authored by the government. The rules and regulations authorizes the Human Resource manager of a company to help in lining up safety programs to make employees acquainted with safety and health policies and plans of the organization and carry out official safety training. Together with this, departmental chiefs and supervisors are responsible for establishing healthy working conditions (Employees' Health and Safety Responsibilities, 2013). Successively, some peculiar tasks have been definited by organizations and the government on the part of supervisors and managers (Friend & Kohn, 2007).
Employee Rights under OSHA:
Under the OSHA rules, any employer has the right to know about the dangers which they may be exposed to at their workplaces. Furthermore, the employees have the freedom to seek safe working environment without any fear of punishment. This right is written in section 11(c) of the OSHA act and it covers all employees except self-employed or public employees in the state or local government. The law also states that employers should not discriminate or punish workers for exercising their right to complain and file health and safety grievances. This comprehensive discussion of safety and health of employees act OSHA states that it is paramount for any employer or organization to abide their official responsibilities. Failure to do so, they are liable for prosecution for any eventuality that can cause injury or death to their workers (OSHA, 2011).
In addition to OSHA, another act that published in this regard is “Worker’s Compensation Law” This law addresses all occupational diseases and accidental injuries that may happen out of and in the process of duty and area of employment. This includes infections or diseases coming from such injuries. This law, in general, does not give compensation to any of the following conditions: A nervous or mental injury due to stress or pain and suffering from that condition (Goetsch, 2010).
In conclusion, all organizations have informal safety training techniques. In this case, some employees like Karen are just given a brief orientation to the company policies including safety issues and they are expected to work safely. This is very wrong as unless or until an employee is acquainted with all-inclusive training regarding safety, he or she can never become aware regarding safety traits. A formal system of training is highly effective in opposition to the informal training systems. The method should be employed in each and every organization that has a lot of concern to their employees’ safety and health issues (OSHA, 2011).
- Friend, M. A. & Kohn, J. P. (2007). Fundamentals of occupational safety and health (4th ed.). Lanham, Md.: Government Institutes.
- Goetsch, D. L. (2010). The safety and health handbook. Upper Saddler River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
- OSHA. (2011). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration.