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Dust exposure a danger to workers, Wisconsin company cited

No matter how careful, people risk accidents in their everyday lives. They go from here to there on roads and railroad tracks. They use elevators and stairs, cross streets and shop. Many work at dangerous jobs. There is always a chance of some type of injury. Workers' compensation claims, however, are often needed because someone's boss or a company's desire to cut corners might have created a far greater risk.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides oversight of workplace safety across the country. Sometimes, a workplace injury accident happens because of an equipment malfunction, car or truck crash and other clear-cut neck or back injury scenarios. But, what about unsafe working conditions unbeknownst to workers?

A Wisconsin company was cited by OSHA for three violations, one of which was classified as repeat. Allegedly, the workers were breathing in dangerous dust particles. Their health was compromised by its failure to remedy the inhalation of crystalline silica dust at the iron foundry. Inhaling this hazard can reportedly result in silicosis or cancer.

Disabling or degenerative workplace injuries, if proven, can be successful bases for workers' compensation claims. Victims may request benefits to provide financial help with medical expenses and lost wages while illness or injuries are treated. Permanent disability or death related to a dangerous workplace requires an experienced approach to long-term financial security.

The foundry employs about 200 workers. A 2012 inspection resulted in 28 violations and $133,000 in penalties. The current citations include failing to provide eye protection and improper ladder caging. The repeated violation concerned the silica dust.

There is a pending OSHA rule proposing updated silica standards that will protect more workers. It is reported that officials estimate it will save about 700 lives and is likely to prevent 1,600 new cases of silicosis per year.

While OSHA holds businesses accountable for actions or inactions that affect the health of its workers, those who suffer injuries are entitled to seek workers' compensation benefits. A careful evaluation of the circumstances of a claim and the needs of the worker will help families in that process.

Source: WorkersCompensation.com, "Wisconsin Foundry Repeatedly Exposing Workers To Respirable Silica Dust" No author given, Apr. 01, 2014

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