Trouble in the Truss Construction Shop


Trouble in the Truss Construction Shop

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Two weeks ago, during a quality assurance load test, the truss being tested fragmented along its horizontal axis and splintered, causing a large piece of the truss to break apart and fall on a crane operator who was helping to conduct the test. The crane operator sustained head injuries and is in critical but stable condition at a local hospital. This accident sent shock waves through the Truss Construction Enterprise division because the company has heavily invested in a new engineering and manufacturing process to produce a cost-effective truss for new homes. This process and its trusses have been touted to be on the cutting edge of construction technology, especially for low-cost housing in overseas markets.

The company safety officer, QA manager, and engineer have signed statements that the test being conducted pushed the load testing slightly beyond the high threshold of acceptable load bearing, though the extra load was not expected to cause the truss to fail. In fact, the trusses were advertised to meet “high commercial load” requirements.

Employees in the engineering shop have been asking if the manufacturing or engineering process is flawed and if the trusses that they are building could fail at even lower loads. Company memos have focused on production and on continuing the testing at lower thresholds. Production managers are directing employees to continue the current production schedule to meet orders for the trusses.

The sales department is keeping an eye on the situation. They are concerned that if there is any delay in shipping, customers will pull their orders, which would be disastrous for revenues.

Obinna Faruch, a production line worker, leaked the details of the accident and test thresholds to the press. Two weeks later, she was terminated for documented poor performance, according to managers.

The company public relations department has issued a general statement that the company has taken all action to ensure that this type of workplace accident would not happen again. They are planning a campaign to communicate the facts of the accident and what the company is doing to ensure a safe working environment.

Sales is asking PR to monitor social media for negative comments and to prepare a similar statement about the quality and safety of the truss product line in case it is needed.

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