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Chicago Heights firm facing fines for worker accident

Chicago Heights firm facing fines for worker accident


A Chicago Heights chemical production company is facing $63,000 in fines stemming from violations resulting from a Nov. 18 accident in which a worker was injured.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Polychem Services Inc. on Monday with one safety and five health violations.

One of the health violations was considered "willful" for failing to ensure confined spaces were safe to enter. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

The proposed fines and violations are the result of a workplace investigation after a worker suffered second- and third-degree burns at the plant.

"Requiring workers to enter confined spaces where known hazards exist without implementing a safe entry permit program is unacceptable," said Gary Anderson, OSHA's area director in Calumet City. "Employers are responsible for knowing what hazards exist in their facilities and must take appropriate precautions by following OSHA regulations to ensure the safety and health of their workers."

Polychem Services can pay the fine and abate the violations, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Department of Labor spokesman Scott Allen said the company had yet to respond to the violations but still was within its two-week window to do so. 

Polychem officials were not able to be reached Wednesday for comment.


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