Paul called OSHA to complain about Newcorp requiring him to work in a dangerous situation.
Newcorp employed Paul as senior maintenance technician, which required him to work in confined spaces to repair equipment. Repair of the pulp shredder was particularly difficult because the space in which Paul worked was very narrow and the machine noise and vibration irritated Paul when he turned the machine on and off during repairs. After one employee was injured while working on the machine, Newcorp moved the machine a little to create more working area, but nearby building support beams allowed little movement for the machine.
Paul refused to work on the machine, saying that it was still too confining and dangerous. The safety manager for Newcorp reviewed the area and deemed it safe. Paul also said that he became claustrophobic because of working in such confining spaces, and that this condition arose out of his employment, making it a worker compensation issue. In addition to calling OSHA, Paul threatened to get a lawyer and sue Newcorp. Management was not sure what legal principles apply to the circumstances presented in this situation.
What liability, if any, does Newcorp have in this situation?
What regulatory and compliance requirements and legal principles (statutory or case law) are relevant to this situation?
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