In November, the nation’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued nearly $200,000 in proposed penalties to Chicago-based American Masonry Inc. for allegedly exposing employees to lead dust. Seven purported violations were uncovered when an OSHA investigator inspected a commercial building site in the City of Chicago. According to OSHA Regional Administrator Nick Walters, the masonry repair company knowingly placed workers at risk when it ignored health and safety regulations and exposed employees to excessive levels of lead when they sandblasted a building. Lead exposure is reportedly associated with a number of illnesses as well as neurological damage.
The violations allegedly committed by American Masonry include lack of a written lead compliance program, failure to provide facilities that would prevent lead contamination of a worker’s street clothes, failure to remove dangerous lead dust from the building site, and failure to implement a respirator or medical surveillance program. All of the citations issued to the company were allegedly willful. A willful violation occurs when an employer intentionally disregards legal requirements or operates with plain indifference to employee health and safety.
OSHA investigators normally monitor the health and safety conditions employees in Illinois and throughout the country face in the workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 created OSHA in order to reduce the number of serious workplace injuries and fatalities across the nation. Provisions of the Act require that all employers comply with a number of safety-related mandates. In addition, employees must be provided with safety hazard training. When an OSHA investigator determines that an employer has failed to adhere to the requirements of the Act, the agency may issue various levels of violations. Fines and remediation of any safety hazards may also be required.
Although most workplace accidents are subject to Illinois workers’ compensation laws, an employee who is injured or dies as a result of the actions of a third party may be entitled to additional compensation. Regardless, an individual who was hurt in an accident at an Illinois workplace is entitled to receive disability pay, medical reimbursement, and compensation for any injury that resulted from the incident. If you or someone you love was harmed in an accident at work, you should discuss your case with a skilled personal injury lawyer as soon as you are able.
If you were injured or a loved one died in an unexpected workplace accident, please contact the experienced attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. Our hardworking Chicago area work injuries lawyers are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week to assist you with your personal injury case. For a free consultation with a dedicated personal injury attorney, do not hesitate to call Abels & Annes, P.C. at (312) 475-9596 today.
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US Labor Department’s OSHA cites American Masonry in Chicago for exposing workers to lead dust, proposes $196,000 in fines, OSHA Region 5 News Release 12-2151-CHI dated November 13, 2012