In this module, my case assignment was to analyze the McWane Corporation and explore Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) involvement with the McWane case. The labor union played a minor role at the McWane Corporation. OSHA and the labor union together brought about changes in at McWane Corporation. Every organizations top priority should be safety; however there are many organizations that have had similar safety issues as the McWane Corporation. My SLP organization, Starbucks recognizes safety as a top priority and the McWane Corporation could use a lesson from them.
The McWane Corporation is a major industry that consists of several plants and they have had numerous safety issues. The McWane Corporation operates all around the world; their major plants include: pipe facilities, hydrant facilities, soil pipe and utility fitting facilities, tank manufacturing facilities, and fire extinguisher facilities. The McWane Corporation employs several individuals so workplace safety should be one of their top priorities. Instead, over 4, 0000 McWane employees were injured in their plants from 1995 to 2003.
The McWane Corporation has a known reputation for his horrific safety incidents that have occurred in their facilities. Several of their facilities have had major safety mishaps to include death and along with those are the legal cases. According to “Frontline”, many of these safety mishaps were due to unguarded moving conveyors; these conveyors caused the injuries of several employees in McWane’s Tyler Pipe Company and its Union facility. At McWane’s Kennedy Valve, an employer died because he disposed of highly toxic paint in an oven which caused an explosion; the employer was directed to do this by his managers.
In McWane’s Atlantic States Cast Iron Company, four managers were convicted for violating environmental and worker safety laws. In 2006, its New Jersey facility was found guilty and the managers were sentenced for dumping oil in the Delaware River. In many cases the McWane facilities were fined and found guilty. All of the cases against McWane, clearly identify that there were some major safety issues going on. These safety accidents were due to most of the facilities either not having a safety program or not properly conducting the program.
Many of the McWane facilities had to go through numerous mishaps investigations due to employee injuries and deaths; it was evident that the McWane Corporation had little to no regard for employee safety, and was in need of guidance and direction from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is responsible for encouraging employers and employees to reduce workplace hazards. They encourage implementation of safety and health programs, and they evaluate the workplace existing programs.
They track all job related mishaps. They are also responsible for the development of mandatory job safety and health standards; they continuously review and update standards in order to adjust to technology. If an organization is not operating under these standards it is OSHA’s responsibility to conduct the inspection, and hold them accountable for the findings. Under the President Obama administration OSHA has also taken on bigger role with small business owners. Safety is important in all organizations, large or small.
OSHA played a major role in the McWane Case to help improve employee work conditions. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration had to get involved with the McWane Corporation in order to ensure workplace safety for employees. McWane’s Tyler Pipe Company had a known reputation for its violation of safety rules, as a result an inspector from OSHA found some horrific findings upon its safety investigation. During this investigation it was found that workers were not the proper safety gear if any, many of the workers had visible scars and skin disfigurations.
Inadequacies were also found in the training programs, electrical safe practices, emergency evacuation response procedures, medical surveillance and etc. OSHA rejected the McWane Partnership and Richard Fairfax (2003) stated the following: Most employers OSHA partners with have demonstrated a strong prior commitment towards worker health and safety; your history with the Agency does not yet demonstrate this level of commitment. More specifically, given the relatively recent history at the Tyler Pipe facility, we cannot at this time conclude that such is evident throughout McWane facilities. Frontline) OSHA recommended that McWane implement some specific safety and health programs. It was also a clear need for the labor union to step in and stand up for the employees. The labor union played a minor role in the McWane case. The labor union only played a communication role in the McWane case. They did not hold the McWane Corporation accountable for their actions. They brought up the employee concerns with minor issues pertaining to the shifts but did little to nothing about the major safety issues. The McWane Corporation did clearly acknowledge the union.
OSHA was the main reason why the McWane Corporation turned itself around. Every organizations top priority should be safety; however there are many organizations that have had similar safety issues as the McWane Corporation. The McWane Corporation had several companies but was putting out a huge amount of money to cover employee injuries and to run the facilities. Currently, several of the McWane companies have been accepted under OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Site. The McWane Corporation recognized safety as a top priority. They begin spending their funds on safety and training programs. Since 1999, McWane has hired 175 new environmental health and safety and human resource people, and created 70 new health and safety positions, Barb Wisniewski, the company’s vice president for health and safety, told ISHN in an exclusive series of interviews conducted this past April (Johnson). My SLP organization, Starbucks recognizes safety as a top priority. All of the new employees at Starbucks go through a shadow training process, where safety is stressed. In the shadow training program, the trainer shows the trainee the proper safety procedures. They show them how to do their job.
They show them around the work center and make them aware of all kits available, should an injury occur. Starbucks has some good safety practices in place. I would recommend that they do some refresher training every once in a while on safety concerns. The only way to eliminate safety mishaps is through continued education. The safety concerns at Starbucks are on a smaller scale than the safety at the McWane facilities. Starbucks does not handle hazardous material like the McWane facilities. The only program that Starbucks has that the McWane Corporation could adopt is the shadow training program.
The McWane Corporation should make it mandatory for all its facilities to adopt the shadow training program. This will allow employees to be trained by a certified trainer on the proper procedures and the safest way to conduct daily business. Both Starbucks and the McWane Corporation should implement refresher training, at a minimum quarterly. All of their facilities should try to get accepted under the VPP. Both organizations should ensure direct involvement in safety and training from the Human Resource Management (HRM) Department.
HRM should be responsible for documenting and tracking all employee safety and job training. Safety is important in every organization, regardless of how big or how small the mission is. The labor union played a minor role at the McWane Corporation. OSHA and the labor union together brought about changes in at McWane Corporation. Every organizations top priority should be safety; however there are many organizations that have had similar safety issues as the McWane Corporation. My SLP organization, Starbucks recognizes safety as a top priority and the McWane Corporation could use a lesson from them.
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