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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, often conducts inspections of facilities to ensure that the work spaces are free from serious hazards. They also make sure that workers have been trained to safely handle the risks they may face depending on their occupation. If an OSHA inspection uncovers safety violations, a company could face penalties and fines for putting workers at risk of suffering an injury and possibly needing workers' compensation.

A company in Illinois is currently facing such fines after an OSHA inspection found multiple violations. It was reported that the inspection took place due to employees being exposed to hazards while working in trenches. One willful violation resulted from the inspection, which meant that the violation occurred due to direct disregard for measures required by law to have workers protected from potential trench collapses.

Due to being previously cited for violations of a similar nature, the company received penalties for four repeat trench-safety violations. These violations included not having safe entry and exit ways from the trench, not requiring workers to wear the proper safety equipment and others. The company also received citations for two serious violations, which could have resulted in the serious injury or death of a worker.

It is the job of OSHA to ensure that companies are adhering to safety laws, but it is also the responsibility of the employers to make sure their workers have a safe environment before an inspection takes place. If an accident takes place due to violations, a worker could potentially be injured or killed. Such a situation could lead to an Illinois worker or the family of a worker needing workers' compensation in order to reimburse for the medical bills and/or loss of income that could result.

Source: forconstructionpros.com, "Illinois Contractor Facing over $70,000 in OSHA Fines for Trench Safety Violations", , Sept. 5, 2014

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Bonifield & Rosenstengel
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