Wooden” is a large factory in Littlebury. Littlebury is a small town with a population of approximately 1,200 people. Wooden is the largest employer in the town. In Littlebury, everyone knows each other, as they are either related or friends. Wooden specializes in creating wooden objects from shaving and shaping logs. The factory takes in approximately 1,000 logs a day and operates on a 24/7 schedule. The activity generates an enormous amount of wood dust. There is dust at least an inch thick on all of the equipment, flat surfaces, and ceiling rafters. There are some areas in which the dust could be as much as three inches thick.
Wood dust is a combustible material and, given the right circumstances (ignition source, amount of dust, etc.), can be explosive. Also, inhaling fine wood dust can create respiratory illnesses.
Employees have complained over the years about the dust, but the employer still has not created a method to frequently clean the factory. One day, Karen, a coworker, tells you that while she was operating her machine she noticed three quick sparks in the air near her work station. Karen informed her section manager about this incident, but the response was that she shouldn’t worry about it. She is now scared that the factory may explode at any moment.
You are an employee at this factory. You have worked there for over 10 years and know everyone from the owner to the coworkers. This situation has you nervous as well, but you don’t know what to do because you do not want to get anyone in trouble. You decide to speak with several people at the factory. Based on their responses (listed below), answer the following questions:
Would you report this situation to anyone else? If so, who and why?If you choose not to report the situation, explain your decision.What are the possible consequences if you were to report this situation?What are the possible consequences if you fail to report the workplace condition?Let’s assume that you have reported the workplace condition. Is this whistleblowing? If so, would it be morally justified in this situation?
Jason Rhine, Safety Coordinator
“There is no way an explosion could occur. Everyone knows that wood dust is not explosive. Karen probably just saw some type of light reflection. Look, in order to ease your mind, I will schedule a major cleanup of the facility next month. Just sit tight.”
Alex Riveria, Area Manager
“Do not make any trouble. A major cleanup of the entire facility will stop production for at least 2 days. Just clean your work area. I have been in this industry for over 30 years. I know a dangerous situation when I see it. Let the experts handle this.”
Karen Parse, Coworker
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“Please contact OSHA. You can make a complaint and they will investigate and handle it. I can’t call since I was just hired 2 weeks ago. I cannot make any waves, but you have been here long enough. You won’t have any problems. I am so scared because a plant back in my hometown exploded about 2 months ago because of wood dust. This is really dangerous!”
Tony Lord, Owner
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“You cannot prove that there is an explosion hazard here. You should only come to me when you know definitely that there is a safety issue. I will consider anything else as slander against me and my company. I do not take too well to disloyal employees
Activity or Assignment
You will read the case summary and accompanying character descriptions and then answer the questions. You should also write a two-page Word Document (.docx) outlining the rationale for your answers. The assignment must conform to APA formatting standards. You should include principles that you have learned so far in this course. Be sure to provide adequate information to support your decision.
Note to the student: You are being graded on your demonstration of reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical abilities in applying what you are learning about market research. You must use your text and outside, scholarly sources in your paper. Make sure that you include in-text citations and references using current APA formatting.
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