Diba Khan Bureau
Man Suffers Brain Damage from Poison at Plant
There are many companies in the world today who care more about work getting done then the health of their employees. Not only do they not care about their employee’s health, but they don’t care about the regulations and laws that along with it. A company that does not abide by the regulations that are put into place someone or something will always go wrong and there is a chance that someone might get hurt. These regulations are given to companies and put into effect because it will keep accidents from happening and if something does happen it will be able to show the system that it needs to be fixed. The legal system has been changing many of the environmental laws. The laws that they deal with are dealing with the natural law and how it relates to humans. The environmental law deals with many of the regulations. Regulations are a rule or directive made and maintained by an authority. Regulations are put into place to ensure that a smooth operation goes on in the workplace.
There are many groups and acts that enforce many of these regulations. A few of the groups are RCRA, OSHA, and EPA. These groups are some of the most important groups out of all of them. RCRA stands for the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act which is there to manage the requirements on generators and transporters of hazardous waste. They also have to deal with the people who manage all of the hazardous waste. RCRA deals with the handling of waste properly and it tracks the shipment of the hazardous waste to a treatment facility. OSHA stands for the Occupational Safety and Health Act which is a federal organization that ensures safe and healthy work conditions for Americans by enforcing the standards providing workplace safety training. Both of these acts are in place to ensure that the employees have a safe workplace. The OSHA act was put into place by congress whose mission is to set and enforce all of the standards and provide training to all employees and to educate everyone about all the rules and regulations that are put into place, that need to be followed. All companies, the employer, and the employees need to follow all of the standards set into place by OSHA. The EPA which stands for the Environmental Protection Agency is an agency of the United States federal government whose mission is to protect human and the environmental health. The companies who don’t follow the standards and regulations set into place by these groups and acts are the ones that have things that go wrong and most of the time it will lead to workers and the people living nearby suffering. A huge example of a company that didn’t comply with the regulations and standard lead to a guy named Scott Dominguez having many medical problems.
The damage that happened from Scott Dominguez working for a company who didn’t followed regulations, means that he will have medical problems for the rest of his life. His life all changed in 1996 when he started working for this company in his hometown of Idaho Town, Soda Spring. He was a young boy two years out of high school when he started working for this small company which extracted silver from waste. Dominguez was working for this company so he could make enough money to go to college in the future, because without this work he would never be able to go to college. The name of the company he was working for as a young boy was Evergreen Resources. His employer from the company asked Dominguez to clean the 25,000 gallon steel tank to get the sludge out of the bottom. Well cleaning out the bottom of the tank which happened to be filled with hydrogen cyanide gas, he became so overwhelmed from all of the gas that he passed out and need to be rescued by the fire department in an hour. The tank was not only filled with the hydrogen cyanide, but also turned out to be filled phosphoric acid which when the two chemicals got mixed together and water was added in, it created hydrogen cyanide gas. When Dominguez was cleaning the tank his employer never came him any safety equipment. When working with phosphoric acid you need to be wearing a respirator, and when working with hydrogen cyanide you should be wearing a respirator as well. For both of these chemicals you should be wearing a Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA), so when mixed together with water you should definitely have some time of safety gear you are wearing. His employer Allan Elias, was an employer know for many accounts of environmental and worker safety violations. What happen to Dominguez was no accident.
Elias is an employer who has been disposing of hazardous waste illegally for many years with properly disposing of it. All of the work that he has all of this employees do is never done with any protective or safety equipment. All of the young men including Dominguez was never given any type of protective equipment, no breathing gear, or safety training when working on the job site. For the years that Dominguez has worked for the company he has never been given proper equipment which working, even though most of the time he was working with hazardous chemicals. Elias has be written up for many accounts of not following the rules in the time that Dominguez has been working at the company.
Elias has been violating many of his safety procedures, and he never had any of the tanks testing before he sent his workers in to clean them out. Elias not following any of the regulations, safety procedures, and not providing training are all failure to meet RCRA and OSHA standards. The OSHA standards are not as strict as they should be because they see poisoning a worker as a crime because the worker didn’t die. The employer did fail to meet many of the RCRA regulations, he illegally disposed of all of his hazardous waste, and he didn’t make sure that his work environment would not harm anyone. Dominguez’s future of going to college and having a better job will never be able to become true thanks to Elias who had him cleaning hazardous chemicals which lead to him having many medical issues. For the rest of Dominguez’s life he needs medical assistance for his day to day activities because the gas gave him brain damage. His employer and many other employers all of the world today and back then have been taking advantage of their employees because most of the employees don’t know the regulations, safety requirements, or the dangers of the work place until it is too late to the point where most of the have medical problems.
Due to the fact that Dominguez didn’t die from the toxic chemicals and all he has is brain damage for the rest of his life means he will never be able to prosecute his employer for the damage that he has done to Dominguez. Even though Dominguez was not able to prosecute Elias for what he did, he was still given the longest-ever sentence for environmental crime. The court gave Elias 17 years in prison for the crime that left his worker with brain damage and he also has to pay $6 million in restitution to the victim and his family. He was convicted on three accounts of violating RCRA. Not only did RCRA get him for endangering his employees, but they also got him for disposing hazardous cyanide. Elias also had to pay $400,000 for the clean up the Evergreen Soda Spring’s site.
Elias will be spend a long time of his life in prison for what he has been doing to his employees, but for Scott Dominguez what he did will never be able to be taken back. He will be living with brain damage for the rest of his life. The $6 million dollars that Elias is giving to Dominguez and his family will never be able to make up for the brain damage that he got working for Elias clean hazardous chemicals. What do you think is worse living with brain damage for the rest of your life or dying? He will never be able to do anything with his family again and will never be able to live a normal life again. He will live like this for the rest of his life because his business try to outsmart the system. He is just one of the many people who deal with this situation in their workplace. Many people have been harm, due to their employers wanted to take the easy way out. Some companies break the law and don’t get caught, but for every rule or regulation you don’t follow you could be harming someone else’s life. How would you feel if you had this happen to you or you did this to one of your workers?