A November 18th workplace injury has led to large fines for a Chicago Heights based chemical company. The company, Polychem Services Inc., has been cited for $63,000.00 in fines in response to one safety and five health violations at the facility. According to reports, a worker was injured on November 18, 2010, suffering second and third degree burns in a confined space without proper means of egress or ingress. One of the health violations is considered ‘willful’ – a violation committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements and/or plain indifference to worker safety and health. The fines are the result of an OSHA investigation at the facility following the Chicago work injury.
Polychem Services has the options of paying the fines and abating the violations, requesting a conference with OSHA’s area director or contesting the fines before an independent OSHA review board. A Department of Labor spokesperson has indicating that the company has not yet made a decision on how it is going to handle the violations. Federal law requires employers to to be aware of hazards that exist in the workplace and also take appropriate precautions by following OSHA guidelines when necessary. No comment from Polychem has been made available.
Injured workers in Illinois may be entitled to benefits under the Workers Compensation Act even where OSHA violations are not found. If you have been injured at work you should contact a Chicago work injury lawyer to discuss a potential claim.