R. Williams Construction Co. v. OSHRC

Published: 2021-06-24 15:15:04
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Category: Economics

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R. Williams Construction Company v. OSHRC is a case regarding the rules and regulations of OSHA verse the practices of a construction company. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Act) is a government regulated organization that was created to ensure the safety of employees while on the job. The regulations of OSHA have been put in place to eliminate and/or reduce the number of on the job injuries and deaths. Therefore, legal issue of this case is whether or not the courts should hold the construction company responsible for specific violations of OSHA standard regulations.
Yet, in the case of Williams Construction the company was put under investigation by OSHA after a trench collapsed at a construction site, which resulted in the death of one employee Jose Aguiniga and the serious injury of another employee by the name of Adam Palomar. Once OSHA completed their investigation, they charged Williams Construction Company with four violations that carried hefty fines. The violations found from the investigation included: 1) The failure to instruct employees and managers on how to recognize and avoid hazardous work conditions ($7,000 fine).
2) The failure to ensure that employees did not have to travel more than twenty five feet to reach a safe point ($7,000 fine). 3) The failure to have a “competent person” that was specifically trained in trench safety to inspect the area each day before employees began working ($7,000 fine). 4) The failure to make sure that the walls of the evocation were either sloped or supported ($70,000 fine) (Walsh, 2010). According to OSHA, that if the regulations were followed the tragic accident could have been avoided, and one person would not be dead. Explain what the employer did or failed to do that violated the OSHA Act.
As a company R. Williams Construction failed to do four things in regards to the regulations of OSHA. The first violation that was brought against Williams Construction was the failure to provide training to employees and their managers about how to recognize and avoid unsafe working conditions (i. e. , company safety manual behind the seat in the company truck). It was proven that Williams did not provide training for trenching hazards to at least the two employees working in the trench. Furthermore, none of the supervisors for Williams Construction were familiar with the OSHA requirements and/or regulations.
The second violation consisted of Williams providing only one safe means of egress at the east end of the 45-foot trench. Even if it appears that at least one of the pumps was located more than 25 feet away from the ramp, the exact location of the pumps, or the precise location of Palomar and Aguiniga in relation to the ramp at the moment of the trench collapse, is irrelevant. Moreover, Williams’ third violation was for failing to designate a “competent person” with specific training in soil analysis and protective systems that is capable of identifying dangerous conditions.
The competent person was also required to perform daily inspections of excavations for evidence of hazardous conditions to determine if it was safe to work each day. However, no supervisor at Williams Constructions was aware of this practice nor did they unknowingly perform the inspection. ” The court disagreed that the Company discharged its OSHA duties merely by relying on the general work experience of Dzamba and J. P. Williams or “common sense. ” R. Williams Constructions Company also violated OSHA regulations by failing to protect employees from cave-ins.
According to Walsh, Williams had reason to know that its employees would enter the trench on the day of the collapse and had actual knowledge that two of its employees entered the trench prior to the cave-in. It is unavailing for Williams to argue that employees must take greater care to avoid placing themselves in harm’s way or that management can “expect an employee not [to] intentionally place himself in danger. ” Such a claim misconstrues the purpose of the OSHA safety standards (2010).
Yet, if the support from the hydraulic jack wasn’t removed the night prior the cave-in could have been prevented, because the employees would have had more stable working conditions. Explain why it was “unavailing for Williams to argue that employees must take greater care to avoid placing themselves in harm’s way. ” It is unavailing for Williams to argue that employees must take greater care to avoid placing themselves in harm’s way or that management can “expect an employee not [to] intentionally place himself in danger, because such a claim misconstrues the purpose of the OSHA safety standards.
In turn, Williams’ argument was not effective due to the fact that it is the responsibility of the foreman and/or owner of the construction to provide training to any new hire or reassigned employee working on the site. OSHA also provided testimony and/or proof from there investigation that employees were not being trained before they began working on the site. It is the responsibility of any employer to ensure that all employees have been provided company safety manuals and OSHA regulations, as well as training sessions to make sure they are knowledgeable of the information.
The company demonstrated negligence when a supervisor testified that the safety manual was behind the seat of his truck and he never referred to it to make sure they followed safety protocol. Therefore, the fines should not have been decreased from $91,000 to $22,000 nor should the severity of the fourth violation been decreased, in my opinion. Explain what role, if any, employees’ actions should have in determining liability under the OSHA Act. When determining whether the employee or company is at fault for violations that fall under OSHA regulations is no easy task.
Whether you are a business owner or employee it is important to protect yourself professionally by keeping track of important documentation, such as training material. As a business owner you should keep track of what training sessions were held and require signatures of the employees that participated. Employees should keep up with training material for their personal and professional protection so they can refer back to it when needed. One has to keep in mind that no matter what job or position they hold when something goes wrong they will be looked at first.
In turn, by the employer and employee keeping records if an incident happens on the job liability can be assessed more easily. From there OSHA can conduct a full investigation of all parties involved to determine the cause of said accident or unsafe working conditions. However, the conditions of the work space should solely be the responsibility of the employer, but it is the job of the employee to follow the policies, practices, and procedures implemented by that organization.

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