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Work injury potential: OSHA cites Illinois pasta factory

Most employers take their responsibility very seriously to comply with state and federal safety regulations in order to keep their workers safe. However, some companies, for whatever reason, allow their safety standards to slip, sometimes with catastrophic results. An Illinois pasta factory was recently cited by the OSHA for workplace safety violations that had the potential to cause serious work injury or even death. Fortunately, no injuries have been reported as a result of these violations.

OSHA reported that Rana Meal Solutions LLC in Bartlett exposed their workers to ammonia hazards from their refrigeration process in July 2012. This resulted in a total of 12 violations worth $54,000 in fines. The violations listed include failure to inspect and test equipment, lack of hazard communication, lack of eyewash station and failure to implement a plan for emergency action, among others. The citation also included a less serious violation for a slip and fall hazard from a wet floor.

The factory did not begin production until after the inspection was conducted, so the violations only cover the four employees who were there at the time. The factory had 15 days from the date it received the citation to comply, contest the report or request a conference with OSHA. Rana Meal Solutions stated that it was reviewing the report and planned to work with OSHA on safety regulation compliance.

Had a work injury occurred at the factory, the employee would likely be entitled to workers' compensation benefits regardless of whether the injury was a result of these safety violations or not. Illinois is a no-fault state when it comes to workers' compensation claims. It is typically advisable for each injured worker to seek legal advice in order to ensure that he or she is getting the full amount of benefits available. Receiving compensation to offset financial losses resulting from the injury may help alleviate a worker's worries so that he or she can focus on healing.

Source: Daily Herald, "OSHA cites Bartlett pasta factory for safety violations," Jessica Cilella, Jan. 22, 2013

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