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Health club pressed with heavy OSHA fine

When most people go to the gym, their reason for walking the door, lacing up sneakers, and working up a sweat is to work toward a healthier, fitter future. However, when the managers, owners, and executives behind a health club ignore basic safety standards, members and employees may find themselves in serious danger. Given the equipment, chemicals, heat, and electricity that running a gym demands, safety negligence of any sort can put many at an elevated risk.

A fitness company with over 20 gym locations in Libertyville, North Chicago, and beyond, was assigned $60,000 in fines by the department of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for a repeat failure to prevent employees' exposure to hazardous chemicals.

The citation came following a November inspection, and was attributed to a failure to provide face, eye, and hand protection to workers who were in close contact with the chemicals during their on-the-job duties. The company also lacked a hazard communication program and had failed to properly train employees on the safe handling of the chemicals in the workspace.

Capital Fitness, the company being pressed with the violations, was also cited in May 2012 at its Fullerton Avenue location for similar breaches of work safety. "We don't issue $60,000 of violations for something minor, especially if it's something that can be corrected rather easily," an OSHA spokesman asserted, highlighting the negligence and willful disregard for employee safety on the part of Capital Fitness.

While no serious injuries or deaths have yet been recorded as a result of the gym's hazardous chemicals, such disregard for employee safety can quickly turn into a tragedy. Employees in Chicago and all across the country deserve to earn their living in an environment that keeps their well-being secure. If these rights are dismissed, breached, or ignored, getting in touch with a worker's compensation attorney is a wise decision.

Source: Sun Times, "OSHA cites gym for repeat safety violations," Judy Masterson, Dec. 31, 2012

• Exposure to chemicals at work could quickly turn into a serious medical situation. For more information, contact our Illinois work injury law page.

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