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Sugar facility cited for violations after fatal workplace injury

When workers in Illinois suffer a workplace injury, they are often compensated for medical expenses, lost wages and rehabilitation. But sometimes a workplace accident tragically results in the death of a worker. In either case, the injured worker or the survivors of the victim of a workplace fatality may be eligible for workers’ compensation or other benefits.

All employers have a duty to keep workers safe while performing their job duties. While accidents do happen, many workplace injuries would easily be prevented if employers took proper precautions to ensure workplace safety. 

Recently, a sugar cooperative comprised of 1,200 sugar beet farmers from four states called for an informal meeting with the state’s safety regulators to discuss $71,000 in fines that the cooperative has been ordered to pay for safety violations at one of its plants. The cooperative had previously been cited at another location, but the more recent charges were assessed after a worker died at the second facility. The worker experienced fatal injuries when he fell through an opening in the floor at the facility.

The sugar growers were found to be in serious violation of eleven safety standards. These violations included inadequate provision of railings and signs around dangerous equipment and the lack of safety guards on machinery. The facility had previously been cited for some of these violations.

Fines may send a message to a company that it needs to step up their safety protocols, but they do little or nothing to help those who have already been seriously injured or killed. This is why it can be important for victims or their families to pursue compensation, including workers’ compensation benefits. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury while working, an attorney who understands workers’ compensation, as well as third-party negligence claims, may be able to help you assess your rights.

Source: Casper Star-Tribune, "After workplace death and fines, Western Sugar seeks meeting with Wyoming regulators," May 23, 2014

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