NewCorp employed Paul as a senior maintenance technician, which required him to work in confined spaces to repair equipment. Repairing the pulp shredder was particularly difficult because the space where Paul worked was narrow. After an employee was injured when working on the machine, NewCorp attempted to relocate it to create more space, but nearby building support beams did not allow for relocation.
Paul refused to work on the machine, saying that the work space was too confining and dangerous. The NewCorp safety manager reviewed the area and deemed it safe. Paul said he became claustrophobic because of working in such confined spaces, and this condition arose from his employment. This statement makes the situation a worker compensation issue. Paul called the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to complain about NewCorp requiring him to work in a dangerous situation. In addition to calling OSHA, Paul threatened to get a lawyer and sue NewCorp. Management was not sure what legal principles apply to the circumstances in this situation.
Q. What specific regulatory compliance issues arise in this scenario? How should NewCorp address those issues? How should NewCorp manage the legal risk associated with those issues?