Cicero Cleaning Contractor Dies After Falling Into Chemical Tank in Wheeling

In late November, a 37-year-old cleaning contractor died after he fell into a 50-foot chemical tank in Wheeling. The Phoenix Industrial Cleaning foreman reportedly fell and landed on his head while cleaning a 6,000 gallon tank at Sunnyside Corporation. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office stated the Cicero man died from a combination of blunt force trauma and exposure to the chemical methylene chloride. The toxic chemical is typically used to strip paint, clean metal, and in certain industrial manufacturing processes. It is currently unclear whether the cleaning contractor was overcome by chemical fumes prior to his fall.

According to the Wheeling Fire Chief, Keith MacIsaac, emergency responders arrived at the company to find the cleaning contractor at the bottom of the chemical tank. MacIsaac said although the man was not wearing a safety mask, one was located nearby inside the tank. He also added that the chemicals kept in the tank create an environment that is oxygen-deficient and would pose an immediate health danger to anyone who enters. Rescue crews who responded to the tragedy were purportedly required to undergo decontamination measures due to possible chemical exposure.

The nation’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reportedly investigated the fatal incident. OSHA was created by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 and is tasked with investigating whether employers complied with federal health and safety regulations following any serious workplace accident that occurs in the United States.

Although workplace accidents such as this one are normally subject to state Workers’ Compensation laws, an injured employee or the family of someone who was killed as a result of the actions of a third party may be entitled to recover additional compensation for their harm. Regardless of who is at fault, a worker who is injured in Illinois is entitled to receive disability pay, the costs associated with his or her medical treatment, and compensation for any injuries that resulted from an accident at work. A skilled personal injury attorney can help you file your claim.

If you were hurt or a loved one was killed in an accident at work, you should call the hardworking lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. at (312) 475-9596. Our skilled Chicago Metro work injury attorneys are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week to answer your questions and help you file your workplace accident or other personal injury case. Our dedicated lawyers are ready and willing to help you protect your rights and achieve the compensation you deserve based upon the severity of your accident injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced attorney, please do not hesitate to contact Abels & Annes, P.C. through the law firm’s website.

More Blogs:

Insurance Data Demonstrates Most Unsafe Cars in Illinois and Throughout the Nation, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, December 12, 2012
DuPage County Man Settles Chicago Construction Accident Case for Record $5.1 Million, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, December 8, 2012
Additional Resources:

Medical Examiner: Worker Cleaning Tank In Wheeling Fell First, by Richard Mayer, Journal Online

Man Killed in Chemical Storage Tank, by BJ Lutz and Christian Farr,

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