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R. Williams Construction Co. V. OSHRC: Case Study

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Luigi Vittatoe Dr. George Ackerman ELA2603 Administrative and Personnel Law December 2, 2015 Week 6 Case Study: R. Williams Construction Co. v. OSHRC 1. What were the legal issues in this case? What did the court decide? R. Williams Construction Company petitions for review of a final order of the OSHRC for violations of the OSHA Act. “We deny the petition for review” (Walsh). The court ruled in favor of the OSHRC. 2. What exactly did the employer do or fail to do that violated the OSH Act? 1. Williams failed to provide instructions to employees and their managers on how to recognize and avoid unsafe working conditions. This violation states that the company did not provide enough training to their employees to ensure that the work cite was…show more content…
The company failed to ensure that the walls of the excavation be sloped or supported as required by regulation. 3. Why was it “unavailing R. Williams to argue that employees must take greater care to avoid placing themselves in harm’s way”? What role, if any, should employees’ actions have in determining liability under the OSH Act? According to our text, a claim like this misconstrues the purpose of the OSHA safety standards. OSHA protects employees from dangerous situations. Under the OSH Act, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace. OSHA 's mission is to assure safe and healthful workplaces by setting and enforcing standards, and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance. Employers must comply with all applicable OSHA standards. Employers must also comply with the General Duty Clause of the OSH Act, which requires employers to keep their workplace free of serious recognized hazards (osha.gov). 4. Ultimately, these violations that caused, or at least contributed to, the death of an employee and serious injuries to another resulted in a $22,000 fine for the employer. Is that a just outcome? Are the penalties for violations of OSHA standards…show more content…
In this case, a violation originally deemed willful was reduced to a “serious” violation, bringing the associated penalty down from $70,000 to $7000. Other serious violations were reduced from $7000 to $5000 because R. Williams is a small employer with no prior history of injuries or OSHA violations. I think if the company can provide solid proof of training to their employees and provide evidence that the company did everything to provide employees with the knowledge to work safely, they will not be at fault for the violations OSHA assigned them. An employee’s actions should be taken into consideration at all times, especially when there is an incident. I believe OSHA needs to conduct a full investigation in order to determine what actually cause these accidents and unsafe work conditions. Even though working conditions are the responsibility of the employer, it is the job of the employee to practice and implement safe working practices. In order to determine if the company is responsible, a complete report including the employee’s actions should be considered. The incident could just be an outcome of employees not practicing safe working procedures. Whether the penalties are sufficient, that would depend on the outcome of a complete investigation of the
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