Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states that breathing wood dust particles may cause allergic respiratory symptoms, mucosal, non-allergic respiratory symptoms and cancer. Accumulated dust is classified as a fire hazard and has the potential to cause an explosion. I would report this situation to protect coworkers and myself from possible life threading situations. I have already reported the problem to my Co-Works, Area Manager, Safety coordinator and the owner who are ignorant of the dangers and fearful of production halt. I got from them that there is nothing wrong to even if there’s something wrong; we can’t afford to fix the problem. My next step is to report it through the anonymous reporting department at OSHA and request a site inspection as soon as possible.
The only consequence I predict that would impact me would be termination. If this could save lives or even prevented long term health problems, this would prove worthwhile. There are of course legal protections against retributive actions against reporting dangerous workplace environments and I would make full use of these legal options to protect myself from disciplinary actions.
Possible consequences if not reported correctly or in a timely manner, would affect myself and people working in the factory thus developing respiratory infections, system allergic respiratory reactions, mucus-lining infections, and cancers of the mouth and lungs. Ignoring the problem presents the threat of explosion and fire, as well. OSHA classifies the risk of wood dust explosion as a location classification of II or III, depending on the levels, amount of collection, and any additives included in the sampling process.
As an external whistleblower, I would be taking a risk with my job, my relationships at work, and perhaps even my safety. The alternative would be to put everyone including the owner and his managers at risk for their health and lives. Since there is clearly no motive or reason to...