Since our last communication I have been told that "I am the problem" and "I need to explain myself" because I shut down the dangerous pizza oven that shot out an 18" wand of electricity hovering over the conveyer belt right where we place our hands to remove the pizzas. This 18" wand of electricity was the size of a man's forearm and hand and it kept waving back and forth over the conveyer belt and made a loud humming or buzzing sound like the sound of a transformer blowing. It did not stop until I turned off all of the circuit breakers.
My boss had a problem with me shutting down the oven and instructing my employees not to use the oven until it had been diagnosed and fixed.
The Company approved appliance repair guy came and did a sloppy job of looking at the oven and told me that he could not find a problem. He did not even check the oven with any voltage meters or take the oven apart to find out what was wrong. I told him that he needed to find the problem or get someone else to find and fix the problem.
The second appliance man was not much better than the first. He said he could not find anything wrong with the oven. He said that the electricity that came out of the oven would not kill me. After I kept insisting that the problem be found, he eventually found part of the problem and declared that the top half of the oven was still safe.
I have been ostracized by the Manager and all of the Assistant Managers since this incident. Non of them will look me in the eye anymore. The Assistant Managers act as if they have been told by the Manager that I am going to be fired soon. Apparently the Manager can cook up some other reason for firing me that is unrelated to the oven situation.
My employees and I have been forced to use the top portion of the oven since last Thursday without really knowing if the appliance guys know what they are talking about when it comes to the safety of the oven. Both appliance guys seemed to be incompetent and missed things that they should not have missed.
Yesterday a real electrician came in to prepare to install a replacement oven and found that both the old oven and the new oven are 30 Amp ovens, but the circuit breakers are 60 amp circuit breakers. This is the equivalent of having no circuit breakers at all and is unsafe. He said the ovens should not be used. The ovens are now turned off for the second time in a week, and have not been turned back on to my knowledge. (I am off today so I am not sure.)
The assistant Manager said that these breakers were installed 9 years ago, so apparently the oven has been unsafe for 9 years.
The first 2 appliance men did not find this problem at all. Nor did they find any other problems, until I put pressure on them to not stop searching till the problem was found. Is my company using unlicensed contractors maybe? Do the other company pizza locations have this same unsafe breaker situation?
Now that I have filled you in a little further I have a few questions.
I feel that my employees and I have had our lives placed in danger and have been violated and mistreated and threatened with losing our jobs if we didn't use this unsafe equipment. I think that my employer should be penalized for their reckless behavior but I also believe that I am due compensation for being exposed to a life threatening situation and being treated like a criminal for demanding that the equipment be safe to use first.
1. Now that the oven is turned off will OSHA even do anything?
2. Would OSHA handle both the penalty aspect and the compensation aspect of this, or would it be advisable to contact a local lawyer to handle the compensation part?
3. Does this sound like a case that a Lawyer would be interested in?
It appears that I will now have to find new employment because of the hostile work environment that now exists, and because I no longer want to be subjected to an unsafe work environment.
4.My question is: If my boss tries to fire me on trumped up charges that are unrelated to this incident, and I have not obtained new employment yet, is there any protection from OSHA, being that the trumped up charges are a cover for the real reason?
I have a perfect record for the entire time I have worked for the company, and have taken my department from very poor performance to being number 1 in the market. Any charges against me would have to be trumped up.
I have been unsure if reporting my employer to OSHA is something I feel comfortable doing. I feel that there could be unknown ramifications. The thing that bothers me though is if I don't do something about this, is some other person going to lose their life because I didn't report this.
I would appreciate your opinion on this.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).