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Illinois company cited; Hazards increase odds of work accident

An Illinois company has received OSHA citations for safety reasons. The Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. has been cited for three safety violations after allegedly failing to protect their workers from the machines unexpectedly starting up. A violation like this one can result in a serious or even fatal work accident.

The company allegedly failed to document the lockout tag-out procedures on their machines that would have stopped the machines from starting up with no warning. In addition, they willfully directed their workers to service the equipment without taking the required safety steps. When a company commits a willful violation, it means they have intentionally disregarded legal requirements or acted indifferently in regards to a worker's safety.

The company received one repeat violation for failing to train their workers to properly operate equipment to ensure hazardous energy is controlled. The company has previously been cited for violating the same or a similar rule, although the violation occurred at an out of state facility. They have also received a citation for failing to 'document and certify periodic inspections of lockout procedures: for one of the older models of carbon monoxide equipment. OSHA defines a serious violation as one where a work accident could occur, potentially causing death or other serious harm. OSHA also believes the employer should have known about the issue prior to the citation being issued.

The Illinois company could face penalties over $100,000 for the violations. OSHA initiated their inspections after they received a complaint that alleged hazards were present inside of the facility. Such violations could result in a work accident that could cause irreparable harm or even death to valued workers. Workers employed in a situation where hazards exist may have legal options available to them are likely entitled to workers' compensation benefits should they become injured on the job. These important benefits are designed to cover medical expenses and related costs as well as lost income from work to allow the employee the time to focus on a full recovery.

Source: PekinTimes.com, "OSHA cites Breadstown's Cargill plant," Nov. 20, 2012

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