The Ethical Responsibilities of a Company for Workplace Safety Patricia J Morris
SOC 120 Introduction to Ethics & Social Responsibility
Professor Rokesha Green
July 30, 2011
I have worked for several different companies, in both retail and distribution over the years. Some companies were very safety conscious, and promoted those ideals within their cultures. Others were not concerned about safety until someone complained or was injured. Last year, my brother died in a workplace accident that should never have happened. He fell thirty feet to a concrete surface from the top of a barge that had inadequate safety railings, there were approximately 10 men and women working on the boat, and only two safety harnesses to go around. Of course, that part was never reported, two days later, the day of the funeral, we received word that a second man had died from a fall off of the same barge. This company is well known for being a dangerous place to work, but according to conversations I had with some of his co-workers, employees were threatened with the loss of their jobs if they complained. Any job carries inherent risk for injury, even if you sit in an office all day. Without their employees, product would not be designed, fabricated or sold. A good Manager knows he has an ethical if not moral obligation to satisfy the needs of his customer, but what about the needs of the people who make that possible? Every year, workplace incidents and accidents cost thousands of lives, millions of dollars, increases in insurance premiums and other costs all of which are passed on to the consumer. Not to mention the loss of a loved one and or income the victim’s family must endure. Therefore, this paper will look from the Utilitarian view, and argue that to serve the greater good, companies should consider it an obligation to ensure safer work places. There is an unwritten contract between a worker and the company he/she workers for. It says that the employee will work for a specified wage, even working overtime when needed, in return for fair and ethical treatment. They have a right to know the dangers associated with their job, and they also have a right to not to put themselves in danger just to make a living. Most workers would probably agree that their workplace is the biggest stressor in their lives. Relieving some of that stress, is a by building an ethical safety program, can build a performance platform and increase profitability. Safer workplaces mean more work is getting done, obligations to customers are being met, and workers are happier. Safety natural starting point for building an ethical organization, once you understand the principles that build ethical leadership and culture. Ethical management is built on commitment to some basic principles. * Having value for human life. Believing that the preservation and protection of human life is most important. * Integrity , having a commitment to telling the truth and keeping promises, putting forth your best efforts * Justice, a strong sense of the fair treatment of employees which establishes trust between leaders and their reports. * The good of the many. Excellence comes from a concern for doing what is best for the of the common good (as opposed to what is good just for the individual person or company). * Excellence There is always room for improvement in the areas of quality and safety. In order for these principles to be effective, they must be believed in, and not just followed as a matter of procedure. Workers will also adopt safety principles easier when they are allowed to be a part of the process. Procedures may have been written according to knowledge about the process, but unless worker input is asked for, it is not as likely to be followed. When workers...