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Employees injured after Illinois plant explosion

Posted on by SST

At least two employees were injured in a metal fabricating plant explosion in Glendale Heights, Illinois on April 1.

Rescue teams were called to the Northstar Metal Product Inc. plant at about 11:55 a.m. and discovered smoke coming from the back of the building. Crews then worked to contain the fire and ensure there were no additional injuries to factory employees.

The Daily Herald reported that the explosion may have been caused by a combination of a piece of machinery and shavings from the metal fabricating process. Local officials will open an investigation to determine how the incident occurred and if there was anything that could have prevented the explosion.

One employee told the news source he heard a loud noise and then saw flames. He said he it looked as if aluminum dust in the grinding room ignited and caused the explosion.

One of the  injured employees was transported to a nearby hospital with non-life-threatening injures and the other was treated at the scene of the accident.

Although the fire was under control soon after emergency crews arrived on scene, firefighters were continuing to work inside the building to combat "hot spots." If the cause of the accident is determined to be a lack of safety equipment such as a flame detector sensor, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) may open an investigation. 

Chicago manufacturing plant receives OSHA violations, fined
OSHA recently found three safety violations at an Illinois manufacturing plant and issued the company citations. According to the federal agency, Phoenix Electrical Manufacturing Co., was cited for failing to take proper precautions to keep workers safe from amputations when operating machinery and was fined more than $50,000. 

Two of the citations included repeat violations for failure to guard danger zones on a metal cutting saw and for permitting workers to use compressed air exceeding the set regulation of 30 pounds per square inch, OSHA said. Repeat violations are issued when a company has received citations for the same or similar violations. Phoenix Electrical has received seven previous citations from OSHA.

"Phoenix Electrical Manufacturing has a responsibility to provide proper machine guarding to prevent workers from amputations and other serious injuries when operating machinery in its facility," said Diane Turek, OSHA's area director for its Chicago North Office. "Companies that are cited for repeat violations demonstrate a disregard for worker safety and health."

The serious violation included failure to provide proper machine guarding on a machine and riveter. An increased likeliness of serious physical harm or death warrants a serious violation.

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