An explosion at the Columbus Foods Co. vegetable oil and biodiesel plant in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood left two workers seriously injured last Friday. The workplace explosion is speculated to have been caused by some sort of chemical reaction according to a fire department spokesman. Columbus Foods Co. used the facility to manufacture and ship vegetable oil, shortening, biodiesel and other products. According to reports the facility handles between 20,000 and 40,000 pounds of biodiesel fuel each day. The facility houses about 65 employees. Agency officials from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have begun an investigation into the cause of the workplace explosion. OSHA reports that the plant has no history of complaints or enforcement actions.
The explosion occurred around 9 a.m. while workers were reportedly mixing chemicals. Several buildings were evacuated and some nearby roadways were closed following the workplace accident. Metra train lines running near the site of the accident were also impacted as a result of the explosion. A hazmat tent was erected outside of Children’s Memorial Hospital to treat individuals injured in the chemical explosion. A company spokesman could not be reached for comment following the accident.
If you have suffered a work related injury in the State of Illinois you may have a workers’ compensation claim or even a personal injury claim.