A spokesperson for an area office of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in Illinois says the owner of a pallet manufacturing company disregarded safety standards, risking the health of employees. Work-related illnesses or injuries can burden workers with mountains of medical expenses and lost wages. This does not only create financial problems for the workers, but it could also lead to increased insurance premiums for the employer.
Reportedly, compliance inspectors of OSHA were shocked to find that employees at the pallet manufacturing plant were exposed to almost 10 times the permissible levels of carbon monoxide exposure. This inspection followed an incident in which 10 workers needed emergency care after exposure to excessive carbon monoxide levels. OSHA proposed penalties exceeding $216,000.
Inspectors determined that the employer failed to monitor carbon dioxide levels or to address warnings of dangerous levels of this toxic gas. Furthermore, employees were operating defective forklifts, and machines lacked safeguarding. Employees were not trained in forklift safety and hazard communications. OSHA says the facility received a follow-up visit one month after the initial inspection, at which time additional machine safety violations were found.
Illinois workers are entitled to safe workplace environments, but negligent employers will always put their employees in harm's way. Injured workers can seek financial assistance through the workers' compensation insurance system. The claims process can be challenging, and many victims seek the support and guidance of an attorney who is experienced in securing benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages on behalf of workers who suffered work-related injuries or illnesses.