According to the General Guidelines regarding Employee Heath and Safety, every employer “shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.” (OSHA, 2005) In this particular case the employer General Dynamics did technically follow these guidelines as set forth by OSHA, even though the ultimate result was harmful to the employees state of health. The employer in question did follow all of the legal specifics regarding the use of the toxic solvent, in terms of ventilating the tanks and only using skilled vs. unskilled personnel to enact the cleanup. The legal guidelines regarding cleaning the area and using Trinchloro were within OSHA standards. True, in its gaseous state, the solvent may cause serious illness or death. But the manner in which the tank repairmen performed the cleanups and the way the tanks were ventilated when using more than one pint of solvent was according to guidelines designed to prevent any catastrophe.
Although all tank repairmen were highly skilled, because the clean-up specifics were essentially a matter of the cleaning teams discretion, it is possible that they were at fault and did not allow for adequate ventilation, or deviated from usual clean up practice. However, this would not be General Dynamics fault, but the fault of the individual team. According to the second part of Section 5 of OSHA general guidelines, the law reads that all employees must also “comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under this Act,” in other words that the Act recognizes that employee as well as employer practices may be to blame. (OSHA, 2005) This may be the case in this specific instance, or if the General Dynamics clean up crew was indeed fully in compliance with all of the OSHA Trinchloro guidelines,.