Your company, JMS Gum Oil Co. (“JMS”), manufactures an oil for a specific industrial use at several manufacturing facilities it owns and operates in Tennessee. The manufacturing of this oil entails a process known colloquially as “heaping,” in which workers place heated filaments in a chamber into which they pour industrial solvent. Heaping has been used for years, and OSHA has regulated the process throughout. In fact, OSHA has not sought to amend its regulations of heaping or to promulgate new regulations in the past ten years.
OSHA officials have recently insinuated at industry conferences that the agency will soon seek to alter its regulation of heaping. Specifically, OSHA will seek to impose new standards on how hot the filaments may be and on the industrial solvents that may be used. Industrial accidents in which workers involved in heaping suffered serious injuries from extremely hot filaments and from inhaling fumes from the solvents used apparently led OSHA to consider these new standards.
After reviewing the science, you conclude that the science regarding the necessity and efficacy of the new proposed regulations is conflicted. Notwithstanding the accidents that prompted OSHA to consider action, the bulk of the peer-reviewed studies concerning the dangers to workers posed by extremely hot filaments and by industrial solvents in heaping have concluded that current standards suffice to protect workers. Further, the current standards have been in effect for ten years, with few accidents except for the recent, high-profile ones. Finally, new regulations to these effects could seriously harm JMS’s profitability.
Assume JMS opposes new standards applicable to heaping. How can and should JMS oppose such potential standards?
What steps must take place before the possible regulations OSHA officials mentioned can become law?
For each of these steps, how can JMS oppose OSHA?
Are there any drawbacks to opposing the OSHA action?
Assume that, despite JMS’s objections, OSHA promulgates new standards for heaping. Also assume that JMS considers these standards illegal.
How should JMS proceed if it concludes that these standards are illegal?
Assume that JMS is cited by OSHA for violation of the new standards and that JMS decides to contest the legality of said regulations in court. What will JMS need to prove to establish that these standards are illegal?