Occupational Safety and Health Administration: Benzene Exposure Rule

The OSHA proposal for benzene was aimed at limiting the amount of exposure from 10ppm to 1ppm. This rule was due to the reports in the media about the death of workers who were exposed to benzene levels that were above 10ppm, yet the initial limit set by OSHA was of 10ppm. It was opposed by companies dealing with benzene and a suit had to be filed in court to determine whether or not it should be implemented. The court ruled that the previous level of 10ppm shad to be maintained since the proposed limit was not supported by any certified report apart from news in the media (Harris, Pritchard & Rabins 45).

My stance on the issue concurs with the court’s decision. OSHA should not impose any new rule to limit the amount of benzene exposure without gathering sufficient medically certified evidence. The major aspects of the rule are the cost of implementation, growth of the economy, future acquisition of manpower and the health risks the workers faced. The decision made by the court had implications which were both positive and negative. The pros of the decision are that the companies did not have to spend extra financial resources so as to procure new technological systems to enable them to limit the amount of benzene to 1ppm.

Thus, if the court had accepted the new rule the companies would have incurred great expenses both in procuring new machines and hiring other employees who are able to manage the machines. The growth of the economy was also another advantage achieved due to the ruling since the companies were able to invest the resources they would spend in getting the new systems to improve and expand their business as well as hire more employees thus creating employment.

The cons of the decision are that the workers’ safety is not assured since they are uncertain whether the level of benzene exposure allowed can affect them or not. More so, the death reports and the ruling can discourage more workers from joining the industry, making the companies lack man power in future. The Time Weighted Average (TWA) limit for benzene applies to the OSHA rule and has a maximum of 8 hours exposure time, which is aimed at protecting the workers since continuous exposure can lead to irreversible long term effects.

Similar Ethical Dilemma Currently in the News

A similar ethical issue relates to the new generation mobile phones which emit radiation due to the presence of electromagnetic waves and radio frequency used to connect the phones to their respective base stations. Furthermore, cell phones are required to produce a certain limited amount of power to enable them to emit enough microwaves so as to connect to the nearest base station (Trouble with Cellphone Radiation Standard, 2011). The controversy sets in when the National Cancer Institute (NCI) says that the continuous use of mobile phones can cause cancer. Although these reports have never been proven since the research is still underway. Due to these reports, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently said that although mobile phones are speculated to cause cancer due to their radiation, there is no specific evidence that proves the same and thus people can continue using their mobile phones. On the other hand, the consumer uses the device being unaware of the health risks posed until sufficient evidence is gathered to enable the court ban the use of cell phones (Trouble with Cellphone Radiation Standard, 2011).

Line Drawing Assessment

Section 4.6 explains the line drawing between a bribe and a gift given to an individual or an engineer (Harris, Pritcard & Rabins 84). The section also sheds light on some of the factors that can be used to analyze if an action is intended bribery or it is bribery. The factors used for analysis are time, the responsibility of the receiver in the undertaking, the quality of the product and the amount of the gift (Fledderman 80). The real example provided is that of Victor, who is responsible for choosing the best company to supply rivets for their construction project. Victor settles on ACME as the best and most cost effective supplier. The company awards him with a fully funded trip to Jamaica so that he can attend their seminar as well as have fun (Harris, Pritcard & Rabins 85). Thus, from analysis this is a bribe meant to sway his future decisions in favor of the ACME since he will always feel indebted.

An example of an ethical bribery issue using baseline is an action that has been modified in the recent years where a contractor gets in touch with the person or panel responsible for determining the winner of a tender, and makes a local agreement that after the tender is awarded the contractor does a ‘back kick’ where some percentage of the total amount of the awarded tender is paid to the person or members of the panel. This is a postponed bribery where a party prefers to be given a small token usually above 10000 dollars after the award so as to prevent any legal suit. The person given a ‘back kick’ is the one responsible for awarding the tender and the contractor is supposed to determine the quality of the product offered.

Works Cited

Fledderman, Charles. Engineering Ethics. London, UK: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2009, Print.

Harris, Charles, Michael Pritcard & Michael Rabins. Engineering Ethics: Concepts and Cases. London, UK: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2009. Print.

2011. Web.

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