Gene Elliot was injured at work, in the process of the installation of a temporary bridge, and issuing his company for $2.4 million for injuries sustained in the process. His duties as an employee included the instruction of how to put the bridge together for a contracted company called Turner Construction. After the bridge was assembled, he was supposed to inspect and make sure that everything was done correctly.
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Once the company bolted the bridge together, Gene Elliot inspected the work and found that it was put together incorrectly. After he instructed the workers to redo the work, the bridge had to be put over a river. A crane was used to pull the bridge over the river, but the supporting wall was not reliable, and the crane started to tip over. Elliot gave all the workers a single, which meant to stop all movement, but the bridge still moved, causing Elliot to fall and injure himself.
It was not clear what made the bridge move. Both companies, his own and the contracted one, are refusing to pay the full sum because they consider the injuries to be Elliot’s fault.
Elliot claims that the working conditions provided were not safe, and he was in a vulnerable position, which resulted in an injury. The companies are saying that it was his own fault, as he purposefully endangered himself by walking onto the suspended bridge.
Ethically, the companies must be responsible because the injuries were sustained during work for the organization.
At the same time, it was Elliot’s carelessness because he should not have gone on to the bridge. Another reason could be a lack of investigation because the reason for the movement of the bridge was not established. A simple misunderstanding and miscommunication could have been the reason for such behavior, as often people attribute negative qualities to those they do not understand or have a problem with. A personal factor could have played a role, as the workers already could have had a negative predisposition towards Elliot because of his corrections and displacement with their work.
I would rule that Elliot did violate work safety conduct because the conditions were indeed unsafe, and he must have noted that. The law allows for such actions, not to mention that the company cannot provide safety from a distance. In this case, ethics are concerned with the greatest fairness for all parties. The companies and unions do provide some guarantees, but employees must also be thinking clearly. Even though the conditions reduced the welfare of workers, a clear analysis of the environment would have helped to avoid the endangerment of the employee.
Elliot had a duty where he was responsible for the inspection and safety of the bridge. In this situation, fairness deals with justice and equal working conditions for all people. Individuals must help each other, especially those who are in some sort of distress.
In this case, Elliot’s disadvantage and inability to deal with a situation properly resulted in a negative outcome.
The workplace is a network of people that all have different personalities and an understanding of ethics. Some employers might behave and feel strongly about their workers and actions, whereas individual employees can be working alone in the field without any support.
As such, they must make sure their own safety is enough to work effectively and without any harm to others.