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  1. When I said I wasn't sure who my employer is; I meant I am not sure who legally constitutes as the employer, and who is bound by what laws. I am operating off the assumption that the contracting company would be the one regulating the work environment, and the safety equipment that would be required doing such work. I do have my own hearing protection normally, although they were misplaced about a week-and -a-half ago. Regardless of that, I would think that workplace provider should be responsible for personal protection equipment, if the operational environment suggests it. I was diligent in pursuing the earplugs because I am quite certain I have a seen a box of earplugs lying in what struck me as an out-of-the-way location. OSHA set limits on workplace SPL at 90 dB (A) with modification for select frequencies based on the Fletcher-Munson curves, or the natural curvature of the average human ear. Some frequencies can therefor equate in the OSHA calculations to over 90 dB (A) though the frequency itself does not have that pressure. I have not brought my SPL meter to work, so I cannot give an accurate accounting of the Sound Pressure Level in the room, but from my years doing audio work and on the submarines, I am certain the SPL of key frequencies at least gets up to pressures requiring PPE by OSHA. What companies are not subject to OSHA requirements? This is production facility is operating inside the city limits, and I have never heard of any company that is not subject to workplace/worker safety. I am looking at the OSHA website and probably going to file a complaint in the next day or two.
  2. I am a disabled veteran who was assigned employment via a temp agency to a manufacturing facility in Houston, Texas. I have been working at this location for about a month, and was quite happy in my position until I was fired today. I was asked to go prep some fiberglass tubes for their use in our production process, which involves a DremelĀ® high-speed rotary tool over a very large fan/filter for the dust in a room about 8' x 14'. I was using an apron over the company-issued lab jacket, a respirator, and eye and ear protection (plugs). When my team leader/supervisor came in to check on how things were going, I turned all of the equipment off and removed an ear plug to hear her. When she left, I couldn't find the ear plug I removed, so I went looking for more in the cabinet where I found the first pair. When I couldn't find any there, I looked in every conceivable place for more, asked my team leader, the (kinda) shop supervisor/R&D guy, and the inventory/shipping guy. When none could be found after about 10 minutes or so of looking, I took the DremelĀ®-tool back to my team leader and informed her that I wasn't going to do the work without ear protection. She told me to wait at my workstation and stormed off in a fuss. I busied myself helping the slightly newer temp sitting next to me. She came back about 10 minutes later holding the fiberglass tubes I had originally been instructed to make, and refused to speak or instruct me further. Within another 5 minutes, the head-honcho came to my station and asked to speak to me and walked off. I walked to where he was standing in the middle of the production warehouse floor and was ordered to take of my jacket and punch out. When I opened my mouth I was silenced with "Don't give me any lip, just punch out and go home. You can call (absent director of production/official boss/guy who actually makes the contracts with the temp agencies) on Monday. Texas is a right-to-work state, not sure if that has any bearing; I was a submarine sonar technician in the Navy, and also do part-time work in audio engineering - my hearing is not only very sensitive but also crucial to my performance in other workplaces. The room where I was working would be 90dB SPL (A) or more (by my best guess) if one were to take a meter to it, which from my understanding makes hearing protection required under OSHA. I am not privy to the contractual agreement between the temp agency and the manufacturer, so I am not actually sure who is legally considered to be my employer. My question is, is this legal and how? Do I have any options available? Is this not a clear-cut case of termination for refusal to work unsafely? If I were somehow accepted back into employment at the facility, would I be protected under any reciprocity retribution or revenge laws? \r\n
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