Apply Critical Thinking: Providing a Safe Working Environment for Current Employees

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Updated: Aug 18, 2023
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The Truss Construction Shop is a company that develops innovative construction technology for low-cost housing for overseas markets. Manufacturing companies are constantly exploring ways to decrease or avoid work-related accidents on their production floors. This strategy tends to draw potential employees to the company and provide a safe working environment for current employees. Safety is a top concern for many employees working with heavy industrial equipment. When an accident occurs, many companies try to understand what occurred and what solutions can be done to prevent another incident by having their employees write a thorough accident report.

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According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that employees have access to safety tools while properly maintaining this equipment. “Employers must provide safety training in a language and vocabulary workers can understand” (OSHA, 2019).

There are protocols that OSHA has enforced on all industrial companies to protect employees and provide a safe and healthful workplace. OSHA inspects all companies to ensure that employers comply with all OSHA standards. OSHA may be required to inspect the new equipment to deem it safe. Employees also have the right to report unsafe working conditions to OSHA. “With the recent accident, employees in the engineering shop have been asking if the manufacturing or engineering process is flawed, and if the trusses being produced could fail under load” (UMUC, 2019). The accident was leaked to the media by an employee, which prompted the company to perform an analysis on the accident. The company is in the process of developing future marketing strategies to keep its reputation intact, so it will not affect the company’s revenues with the current orders placed.

Explanation of the Issue

The most significant problem is that an employee is now in a coma due to an accident. “During a truss load test, the truss fragmented, causing a large piece of the truss to break. The truss fell and landed on a hoist operator supporting the test. The hoist operator sustained head injuries and remains in an induced coma in a hospital” (UMUC, 2019). As the company has heavily invested in a new engineering and manufacturing process to produce a cost-effective truss, this came as a surprise. “An engineer verified that the test being conducted pushed the load testing slightly beyond the high threshold of acceptable load-bearing. The extra load was not expected to cause the truss to fail” (UMUC, 2019). This event led employees in the engineering shop to question whether the manufacturing process is flawed and if the trusses being produced could collapse due to significant overload. The company has also sent out memos emphasizing on production at lower thresholds. Members of management are encouraging employees to continue the current production schedule to meet orders for the trusses, which were advertised to meet “commercial-high” load requirements. There is concern in the sales department that customers could potentially cancel orders based on what has transpired at the company. If the company loses orders, it could directly impact sales and revenue (UMUC, 2019).

Faruch Habib, a production line worker, leaked the details of the accident and test thresholds to the press. “Two weeks later, he was terminated for documented poor performance, according to managers” (UMUC, 2019). Company memos have focused on production and more testing at lower thresholds. Personnel from the management department tell employees to continue completing the production schedule in order to fulfill the orders that were placed. The company’s public relations department has issued a general statement, affirming that the company has taken all necessary actions to ensure this type of workplace accident will not be repeated (UMUC, 2019). The sales department is concerned that if this accident causes a delay in shipping, customers will cancel their orders, resulting in the company losing revenue. This accident has caused confusion among employers and employees, leading the latter to question the safety of the equipment and the operation of the machinery.

Analysis of the Problem

For each problem, there are issues that we know and others that we do not know. One problem is the accident itself. We do not know if the company ever inquired or reacted when the engineers asked if the manufacturing process was flawed. Once the company sent out memos to focus on production at lower thresholds, there may have been something the company knew that the employees did not. Was there any indication that the process was flawed before the accident occurred? The company would have needed those tests to be documented and recorded. Such documentation would be a good indicator of how many times the truss failed an overload test.

The termination of Faruch Habib has also become a problem due to the timing of the employee’s dismissal. The company may want to have documented proof that he was fired due to declining performance, and not for speaking to the press about the accident. This is very important from a public relations standpoint. Brand recognition is crucial in business. If the company is recognized in a negative way, it could have an impact from which recovery might take a long time. The sales department is worried that this incident could affect sales and revenue. The company must examine how public knowledge of this accident has impacted sales and customer orders thus far.

The sales and customer order data should be presented to show the effects of this. Also, why would there be any delays in shipping through the company? Would they halt customer orders to improve the process, even if there is no documentation stating that this has ever happened? Such an event would be catastrophic to the business. Employees should understand the risks associated with the construction industry. The company must be scrutinized to ensure that all safety precautions have been taken to prevent accidents. The nature of this industry is risky and employees won’t remain with the company if it isn’t doing its part to make the workplace safer. These points must be considered to determine the next step.

Consideration for Alternative Viewpoints and Conclusions

To determine the next step, we must first consider alternative viewpoints. The company should investigate whether there is surveillance footage of when and how the accident occurred. Video evidence takes precedence over personal accounts, as a videotape does not lie, whereas first and second-hand accounts can be fabricated. The company should also research to ascertain if any foul play was involved by the employees which led to this accident. They need to investigate whether the employee was following orders from his supervisor to overload the truss, or if he made that decision autonomously. These viewpoints must be evaluated to draw a conclusion. Regarding sales and customer orders, data must be presented to draw a conclusion about what might happen if sales are cancelled.

The company should want to see the change in the number of orders from before the accident to after it occurred. If sales are canceled, how much of a loss would the company take? The company would need to consider whether it can even afford to withstand a loss of revenue due to canceled orders. Employee input must be factored in. The company should ask, “What would make the process safer yet more efficient?” The employees should be asked if there are any changes that need to be made by the company. This is important because the employees are the ones using the machines and producing the truss. Upper management should always value the opinions of the employees; this would not only make for a better work environment but also inform the company about the problems that need to be addressed.

There are several ethical and legal implications that can play a major part in determining the next step. Ethical decisions cannot be made solely through analysis or data. From an ethical standpoint, the company knew an accident could possibly happen. The company should have done a better job of informing employees about the dangers of the job. Another priority for the company is to communicate and consult with the family of the injured employee. Another ethical implication involves the employee who was fired from the company after going to the press. The employee who was fired may have felt that going to the press was the right thing to do. It was also right, from an ethics standpoint, for the company to go to the press to address the situation.

The accident to the employee can also have major legal implications for the company. If it is found that the injuries sustained by the employee were caused by negligence or defective equipment, the company could be held liable (Farrar, 2018). Workers’ compensation laws require that all employees have workers’ compensation insurance. This law also limits the amount of compensation that employees will receive. This can become a problem if the employee’s injuries are long-term and not covered by state law (NOLO, 2019). Another legal implication that must be considered involves the employee who was fired. The employee who was terminated by the company could take legal action by filing a wrongful termination claim (Doyle, 2018).

Conclusions and Recommendations

During a load test, a large piece of a truss broke and landed on a hoist operator supporting the test. The hoist operator sustained head injuries and remains in a coma in the hospital. The sales department is concerned that any production delays will prompt customers to cancel orders. Therefore, the company should not delay production as it will adversely affect sales and orders. As it stands, no customers have cancelled their orders, providing no reason to delay the production of items. While accidents do occur in the workplace, there is no documentation supporting this incident with the truss happening more than once. To avoid similar incidents, the company must maintain lower loads during production.

The company should also coordinate an employee staff meeting to stress the importance of not overloading truss and the dangers that can occur if that happens. The company should take care of the injured employee’s benefits and bills until they recover. If a worker is injured by a machine, the manufacturer can be held liable for the injuries if they knew the dangers or did not properly warn employees of the potential risks (NOLO, 2019). To avoid a public relations nightmare and a potential lawsuit, the company must care for that employee because the accident occurred on their premises. The company has already issued a statement regarding the accident.

Doyle, Alison. (2018). What is Wrongful Termination? Retrieved from
Farrar, Hennesy, Tanner (2018). Was Your Construction Site Accident Caused by Defective Equipment? Retrieved from
NOLO (2019). Workplace Injury: When You Can Get Sued Outside of Workers Compensation, Retrieved from
UMUC (2019). PRO 600 Project 5, Truss Construction Shop, Retrieved from
United States Department of Labor (2019). Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Retrieved from

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Apply Critical Thinking: Providing A Safe Working Environment For Current Employees. (2022, Aug 17). Retrieved from