Occupational safety

By — on / Daily, Negotiation Skills

The PON Clearinghouse offers hundreds of role simulations, from two-party, single-issue negotiations to complex multi-party exercises. The following role simulation is a six-person integrative negotiation among representatives of a manufacturing company, an occupational safety agency, a union, a local fire department, and a local technical expert to settle claims of safety violations that allegedly caused two employee deaths.


MC Metals, a subsidiary of a London-based multi-national corporation, is a large metal production company. The metal production process creates a waste residue, which MC Metals recycles or burns to create energy for its operations. Through a series of accidents in the recycling process, two workers were killed and some workers and fire fighting crew members were injured.

After the explosion, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (‘OSHA’) investigated the incident and found that MC Metals was not only at fault but that it had violated numerous safety regulations. MC Metals, which has a reputation for being highly concerned with safety, is contesting all charges.

MC Metals has requested an Informal Settlement Conference with an OSHA representative. Due to the publicity surrounding the case, MC Metals has agreed to have a member of the Town Fire Department, a union representative, and a local resident/expert present at the meeting.


  • The importance (and difficulty) of clarifying interests
  • Coping with the loss of trust
  • Dealing with anger and self-righteousness
  • Dealing with differences in perception
  • The importance of public perceptions
  • Understanding sources of bargaining power
  • The power of objective criteria
  • Potential benefits of using neutral parties
  • Potential benefits of contingent agreements/triggers


For all parties:

  • General instructions

Role specific Confidential Instructions for:

  • OSHA compliance and safety officer
  • OSHA Area Director
  • MC Metals Workers Union representative
  • Town fire chief
  • MC Metals safety manager
  • Woodville resident

Teacher’s package

  • All the above
  • Teaching Notes on logistics, debriefing and key teaching points


Multiparty negotiations; environmental health and safety dispute; environmental conflict resolution


Bog Berries Inc. vs. Federal Environmental Agency
Chemco Inc.

To purchase this role simulation, click here.

The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School
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1563 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138

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