The manufacturing industry is critical to supplying the world with a wide variety of products, but what happens when manufacturing ethics are ignored? Sadly, this happens more often then you might expect.
From employees taking shortcuts to company owners ignoring OSHA regulations, ethical issues in this industry are highly dangerous. Reporting any ethical breaches is important for improving the safety of manufacturing plants and products.
Employees Get Injured
OSHA has detailed guidelines for manufacturing companies to help create a safer environment. However, it’s not unusual for employees, management and owners to ignore those guidelines. When manufacturing ethics are ignored, employees eventually get injured or worse.
Companies may even bribe OSHA inspectors to avoid having to pay fines on obvious infractions. When employees are injured, it’s then difficult for the employee to prove any wrongdoing. When manufacturing environments aren’t kept safe and up to code, employees may pay the ultimate price.
Products Are Dangerous
Much like with the construction industry, manufacturing companies may take shortcuts when it comes to how products are made. Skipping a tiny part or using a much cheaper alternative part might not seem like an issue, but there’s usually a reason why products are supposed to be manufactured a specific way. For example, using a different type of plastic could result in the product breaking easily or even causing major allergic reactions.
Another issue is companies trying to rush through the manufacturing process without any quality control. This leads to flaws not being noticed hundreds or thousands of customers complain and recalls are required.
Companies Are Shut Down
Most manufacturing ethics are ignored for one reason – to save money and earn higher profits. However, eventually, those issues will lead to the company being shut down. Employees who’ve been injured over the years start speaking up all at once. Investigators who can’t be bribed come in. The end result is a complete loss of reputation and a forced shutdown.
Instead of making money, the company loses money. All the gains are only temporary. Even worse, if the company closes, all those employees are then out of work and their livelihoods are at risk too.
Companies Face Lawsuits
For any employee or customer who gets injured as a result of manufacturing ethics issues, the company may face costly lawsuits. For smaller companies, this can ruin them. For larger companies, they may be able to eat the cost. However, most major lawsuits end up going public. Brands who work with those manufacturing companies might choose to avoid working with them in the future to avoid any lawsuits themselves.
It doesn’t take long for the damage to their reputation to result in a complete loss of business. Even with insurance, multiple lawsuits (win or lose) have the ability to shut companies down.
Manufacturing ethics are ignored all too often. It’s up to employees to speak up whenever possible. Manufacturing companies should also have ethics reporting policies in place to outline how reports are handled. It’s in the best interests of employees, customers and manufacturing companies to ensure manufacturing companies are ethical.