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Illinois gym faces fines for increasing risk of work accident

It is every workplace's responsibility to ensure that their workers are protected from any potential dangers on the job. Failing to do so can result in hefty fines, or, in the worst case scenario, a work accident that can cause injury, illness or death. An Illinois fitness center is now facing potential penalties by the federal OSHA for failing to provide safety equipment to workers who use hazardous chemicals. Fortunately, no injuries have occurred as a result of the company's alleged safety violations.

Federal officials investigated XSport Fitness in Libertyville in November and found that employees were repeatedly not given hand, eye and face protection when working with chemical cleaners. Workers at the facility are required to use some acid-based cleaners. The OSHA also claims that the Libertyville location did not provide safety documentation for using the hazardous chemicals, nor did they implement any type of hazard education program.

Capital Fitness Inc., the parent company of XSport Fitness, received OSHA's complaint on Dec. 21 and was given 15 days to respond. They can either contest the safety violation charges or schedule an informal conference. The OSHA may fine the company $60,000.

It remains to be seen how Capital Fitness will respond to OSHA's complaint and what measures they will take to resolve these issues. If a work accident did occur, any injured workers at XSport Fitness would likely be entitled to Illinois workers' compensation. These benefits are made to offer financial relief for medical bills and related expenses, as well as lost wages for missed work. Having these benefits when needed can offer peace of mind to employees who become injured or ill on the job, allowing them to focus on getting well.

Source: Daily Herald, "OSHA cites worker safety violations at Libertyville health club," Bob Susnjar, Jan. 1, 2013

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