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Heavy fines after 5 amputations in manufacturing accidents

Workers in various industries nationwide, including Illinois, deal with amputation hazards each day. The level of risk is underscored by a report issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that involves a wine-barrel maker in a neighboring state. Substantial fines were proposed after the company reported amputation injuries in five different manufacturing accidents in only 14 months.

According to OSHA documents, the latest amputation injury occurred in Feb. 2019. In that case, a worker lost a finger. Inspectors reported that workers were exposed to a chain and sprocket that was unguarded. Reportedly, the company was cited for the same violation one year earlier in Feb. 2018.

Other hazards identified at the plant included exposure to noise and electrical hazards. Furthermore, machines lacked the necessary safeguards and lockout/tagout devices and procedures. Accumulations of dust on working surfaces and floors caused fire hazards. However, the safety director of the company maintains that the accident rate does not exceed national averages. OSHA proposed fines totaling over $400,000.

That will not replace the amputated body parts of workers who became victims of preventable manufacturing accidents. Victims of similar workplace accidents in Illinois are typically eligible for workers' compensation benefits. An attorney who is experienced in this field of the law can assist with the benefits claims process to obtain compensation for medical expenses and lost wages. Amputations could cause permanent disabilities that might prevent workers from returning to the same job. Legal counsel can help to secure additional benefits to cover vocational rehabilitation and more under applicable state laws.

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