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Workplace accidents: Dust explosion at corn mill kills 4

Residents of a small community in a state neighboring Illinois are struggling to get over the deaths caused by an explosion at a corn mill that is the cornerstone of the town. Corn mills nationwide, including in Illinois, will always pose dust explosion hazards, and only compliance with safety regulations can prevent such tragic workplace accidents. While smoke was still drifting from the site, the death of a fourth worker was announced.

Reportedly, 16 employees were on duty when an explosion rocked the mill. The fire continued through the devastation, and rescue workers discovered the bodies of three workers as they cleared away the debris and rubble in the days following the blast. Almost a dozen other employees were injured and taken to a hospital, from where some had since been released; however, one more worker succumbed to his injuries almost a week after the mill erupted in flames. At that time, four others reportedly remained hospitalized.

Those who lost their lives were a mill operator, forklift operator and two pack operators. An investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will determine whether the blast was caused due to similar safety violations for which the company was cited and fined in 2011. At that time, inspectors found safety measures to avoid explosions lacking.

When employees die in workplace accidents in Illinois or any other state, the surviving families can usually depend on their state's workers' compensation insurance system to provide financial assistance. Dependents can claim death benefits that typically cover the costs of funerals and burials while also providing wage-replacement benefits to assist with day-to-day costs of living. Families who need assistance with the claims process can seek the support and guidance of an experienced workers' comp attorney.

Source: wisfarmer.com, "Four die in Cambria mill plant blast", Carol Spaeth-Bauer, June 7, 2017

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