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OSHA fines Illinois scrap metal company for violating rules

Manufacturing and construction worksites are typically hazardous environments. Heavy machinery and equipment, ladders and other dangerous tools may make these kinds of work sites potentially dangerous work zones. If any worker is injured in a workplace accident, Illinois law requires that the company responsible for the injuries provide workers’ compensation. However, employers in this situation may be subject to government-imposed fines, as well.

In a recent incident, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration asked an Illinois-based metal recycling company to pay more than $350,000 for repeated violations that it discovered over the last several months. Five violations were said to be willful and nine violations were regarded as serious. OSHA had conducted an investigation into the company’s facilities in two Illinois locations a few months ago.

According to the OSHA report, the company made workers handle dangerous toolsduring machinery maintenance and service at one location. The company did not use energy control devicessuch as those that could shut down power and locking devices. OSHA believes these implementing these measures can prevent machinery from starting on its own, thereby preventing construction accidents.

OSHA also said that the plant did not conduct certain regular checks that are essential for preventing construction accidents. The report also pointed out that workers at both sites were exposed to potential situations in which they might fall from heights. Platforms were unguarded and there were risks that the laborers could be exposed to falls from as high as 10 feet.

Workers also had to walk along a conveyor system to enter and leave work areas. The plant has 15 days to pay or it can request a conference with OSHA’s director. It also has the option of contesting the findings of the report. Dealing with issues such as construction accidents are sensitive and legal support is available in Illinois if a worker has been exposed to unsafe work conditions or has been injured on site.

Source: Recycling Today, “OSHA proposes steep fine for Illinois scrap firm,” April 1, 2015

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