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Read this article titled “One Tiny Drop.” Article-One Tiny Drop (Mercury Poisonings)
Question 1: Did the victim understand the risks?
I believe she did understand the risks- assuming that the SDS was likely posted and she knew the risk of her job when handling serious chemicals. in the article, it clearly states she “didn’t think anything of it” but maybe she should have. As soon as she spilled the chemical, she should have pulled the SDS.
Discussion Question 2: What personal protective equipment did she use? What exact type of protective glove should she have used?
She used latex gloves when she should have used Silver Shield laminate gloves. She did use goggles as well as an apron.
Discussion Question 3: If you were the Vice President of Safety & Environmental Health at Dartmouth College, what would you have done to prevent similar accidents from happening?
I would hold a case study or educational session regarding the exact case. Though I am sure word would travel fast, I think something should be in place and done to prevent further spills from happening. I also think emphasis should be put on the fact that while spills may seem small, they can cause a lot of damage and to immediately pull the SDS.
1- No she didn’t. Not at least fully. Yes, she know about mercury but not what to wear to prevent the absorbtion. See this is how humans learn from trail and erorr. It’s always been the way we’ve learned. Karen was a chemistry professor but what comes with teaching is learning. It wasn’t her fault. She took all the right precautions such as gloves, eye wear, isolation, and a vent hood. It’s not her fault that she didn’t know what exact pair of gloves to wear! There wasn’t enough evidence back in the 1996-97s.
1- As I said above the article was very exact on what she wore as a cautionary measure. She wore: gloves, eye wear, isolation, and a vent hood. Karen needed to wear latex gloves which didnt originate til 1880s, BUT they weren’t every where til the mid 19060s. The problem though is that John Hopkins where they were created knew that people were allergic to latex. A lot of people are allergic to latex back then and it has probably quadrupled since then. So my question to my fellow classmates is, Was Karen allergic to latex gloves? An that’s why she wasn’t using them at the time of the absorption?
2- I would first figure out where the absorption happened(part of body) and then if it was possible, to scientifically stop it some way.
Prior to her injury, ‘Janice’ worked as a word processor operator, for a medium sized firm of management consultants just outside London. She worked in a typing pool with three other girls. One day, one of the partners in the firm needed to get a lot of information entered onto a database in a hurry—and it occurred to him that Janice might work faster if she was in a room on her own where she could not waste time chattering with her friends. So he had a computer terminal set up for her in the firm’s library. It was placed on an antique wooden desk. This was somewhat higher than the standard office desk (antiques often are). It had two plinths and a ‘knee-hole drawer’ in the space between them where the user sits. Janice found that however she sat at this desk she could not get into a comfortable working position. She noticed in particular that her wrists were not at their normal angle to the keyboard. It was during the early part of the afternoon that she first began to be aware of a dull ache at the backs of her wrists. This rapidly became worse until she was in considerable discomfort. So she told her boss about it. His response (as it was subsequently alleged) was to say: ‘Stop whingeing and get on with your work!’ So Janice did. As a result, she developed an acute tenosynovitis affecting the extensor tendons of both wrists. Her condition subsequently became chronic and she was no longer able to type. She lost her job and was forced to take up less well paid employment as a traffic warden. She took legal action against her employers who eventually settled ‘on the courtroom steps’ for a substantial sum of money.
According to Chuck Williams’ book “MGMT,” managers have three major roles: interpersonal, informational, and decisional. Among these, they spend most of their time in interpersonal roles, which involve motivating employees to accomplish tasks effectively. In the case of Janice, her manager isolated her, believing it would provide her with a conducive space to concentrate and work. However, this approach failed, as the manager disregarded Janice’s concerns and resorted to bullying her to complete the task.
As a manager focusing on the decisional role, I would have handled the situation differently. I would have designated the new space as Janice’s office and moved her current work area (desk) into that space. This way, she would have felt more comfortable since she was already accustomed to her desk and chair. By creating a comfortable environment, Janice might have been more motivated and encouraged to complete the task in a timely manner.
While I recognize the importance of ergonomics in the workplace, I don’t believe it should be mandated legally. Our workforce is becoming increasingly diverse, and meeting the specific needs of every employee within a company would be challenging, if not impossible. For instance, if I owned a restaurant, I have two cooks—one who is 6’5″ and another who is 5’5″. It would be extremely difficult to design a kitchen that perfectly accommodates both of their ergonomic requirements. Additionally, the costs involved and the high turnover rate in the restaurant industry further complicate the implementation of extensive ergonomic legislation.
While I value the importance of ergonomics, I believe that rigid legal requirements may not be feasible in accommodating the diverse needs of all employees in a company. Instead, it is crucial for managers to be sensitive to their employees’ concerns and tailor solutions that suit individual needs to the best extent possible.
Williams, C. (2021). MGMT (12th ed.). Cengage Learning US. https://bookshelf.vitalsource.com/books/9780357137819
I think there are several lessons to learn here. I think that every employer should work to make sure their employees are as comfortable as reasonably possible. Obviously there will be some things that everyone has to do that they will not like to do, but what Janice’s boss did was unreasonable. I think it is fair to say if the employees are comfortable, they will be happier and that translates to more efficiency which in turn translates to profits. I also think it shows that management should be more concerned with their employees complaints. If an employee is suffering an ailment, it should be addressed, rather than brushed to the side. In this case, brushing it aside led to a settlement being reached that cost the company a significant amount of money. If the boss had listened to his employee, the settlement might not have been necessary. I think it is pretty obvious as to how Janice’s workplace could have been more “ERGONOMIC.” If the boss had simply given her a newer, lower desk to work at for her wrists. It was also stated that the work station was not comfortable, period. If she was given a more comfortable desk that gave her in particular a better wrist angle, she would not have developed tenosynovitis and there would have been no issues. In terms of making employers required to make their workplaces “ERGONOMIC,” I think that everyone should be accommodated for, within reason. If it something as simple as a more comfortable desk, then yes I think the employee should be required to fulfill that request. I think if there was a law made however, some employees might abuse it to getting things they want, rather than things they need for comfort. If there was a way to balance that and make sure everyone was getting reasonably what they need, then yes I would support such a law. But some workplaces may not be able to provide what an employee if asking for, if it is an unreasonable ask. One example I can think of in my own workplace, we have an employee who wanted to be able to work shirtless. My boss decided no, since this individual was working at people’s residences, that working shirtless would be unprofessional. I think in cases like this, there should be no law applying. This was a matter of inconvenience, not like in the case of Janice where an uncomfortable workplace led to her suffering injury.
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