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Workers suffer from oxygen deprivation inside tank car

Workers' compensation benefits in Illinois exist to compensate employees for workplace injuries, whether or not the worker was at fault for the accident in most cases. It is possible to be covered by workers' compensation after an unavoidable accident, as well as an accident that may have been prevented by implementing proper safety measures.

A recent tragedy may illustrate a case in which workers' compensation could apply for two injured workers, as well as for the surviving family members of an employee who was killed in the accident. Authorities reported that the workers at the Port of New Orleans rail yard in Louisiana were trapped inside a tank car. One man managed to get out of the container and call emergency services, even though he was suffering from the effects of oxygen deprivation.

When emergency workers arrived and freed the other two men, they discovered one was not responsive and didn't have a pulse. Despite efforts to revive him, he died at the hospital. Emergency personnel were able to recover the other man, who had been semi-conscious when he was rescued.

The company the men worked for, Dedicated Trailer Cleaning Services from Lansing, Illinois, had already been cited twice by the U.S. Occupational Health & Safety Administration for dangerous work conditions in Lansing and Channahon. During three inspections over a two-year period, officials found the company did not provide workers with safety and rescue gear, exposed them to hazardous materials and did not train workers properly. The business lost an appeal in May and had to pay a fine of $55,625.

Source: The New Orleans Advocate, "Port of New Orleans rail yard accident leaves one man dead, two others suffering oxygen deprivation," Matt Sledge, Oct. 8, 2015

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