Please identify the basic duties of employers to their employees, and discuss which of these duties the employer failed to do, based on the documentary “A Dangerous Business: The McWane...
- Please identify the basic duties of employers to their employees, and discuss which of these duties the employer failed to do, based on the documentary “A Dangerous Business: The McWane Story.”
Under Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, employers are mandated to provide a safe workplace for employees. Included among key employer responsibilities is to have a workplace free from serious recognized hazards, to regularly examine workplace conditions for OSHA compliance, to keep records of work-related injuries and illnesses, and to not discriminate against employees who exercise their rights, such as whistleblowers.
McWane Inc., one of the largest iron pipe foundry companies in North America, was fined $8 million for dozens of safety and environmental crimes at several of the company’s plants. In 2003, investigations by Frontline, The New York Times, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation revealed horrific safety and environmental violations that had led to thousands of injuries and nine deaths at McWane plants. The privately held company and eight of its executives and managers were convicted of 125 environmental, health, and safety crimes. The company had violated the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act and been involved in lying to government officials and conspiracy to cover up violations. While courts have imposed almost $20 million in criminal fines, and government regulatory agencies have imposed millions more in fines, only one McWane official has served any time in jail.
David Uhlmann, as section head of the Environmental Crime Section of the Department of Justice, guided the nationwide investigation of McWane violations in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency and OSHA. Uhlmann concluded that the Environmental Crime Section had never seen such criminal violations in its 20 year history, citing the company’s “culture of lawlessness.”