Answer the questions to the case, “The New Safety Program,” at the end of Chapter 10. Explain your answers in 200 words.
Case Incident: The New Safety Program
Employees’ safety and health are very important matters in the laundry and cleaning business. Each dry-cleaning store is a small production plant in which machines, powered by high-pressure steam and compressed air, work at high temperatures washing, cleaning, and pressing garments often under very hot, slippery conditions. Chemical vapors are continually produced, and caustic chemicals are used in the cleaning process. High-temperature stills are almost continually “cooking down” cleaning solvents in order to remove impurities so that the solvents can be reused. If a mistake is made in this process—such as injecting too much steam into the still—a boilover occurs, in which boiling chemical solvent erupts out of the still, onto the floor, and onto anyone who happens to be standing in its way.
As a result of these hazards and the fact that chemically hazardous waste is continually produced in these stores, several government agencies (including OSHA and the Environmental Protection Agency) have strict guidelines regarding the management of these plants. For example, posters have to be placed in each store, notifying employees of their right to be told what hazardous chemicals they are dealing with, and what the proper method is for handling each chemical. Special waste-management firms must be used to pick up and properly dispose of the hazardous waste.
A chronic problem the owners have is the unwillingness on the part of the cleaning-spotting workers to wear safety goggles. Not all the chemicals they use require safety goggles, but some—like the hydrofluorous acid used to remove rust stains from garments—are very dangerous. The latter is kept in special plastic containers because it dissolves glass. Some of the employees feel that wearing safety goggles can be troublesome; they are somewhat uncomfortable, and they also become smudged easily and thus cut down on visibility. As a result, it is sometimes almost impossible to get employees to wear their goggles.
How should a dry cleaner go about identifying hazardous conditions that should be rectified? Name four probable hazardous conditions or areas in such a store, based on dry-cleaning stores that you have seen.
Would it be advisable for such a firm to set up a procedure for screening out accident-prone individuals?
How would you suggest that owners get all employees to behave more safely at work? Also, how would you advise them to get those who should be wearing goggles to do so?