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History of unsafe practices at plant with workplace accident

An Aug. 25 explosion at a Granite City, Illinois, recycling plant has resulted in the deaths of two people and sparked investigations into the history of the plant's safety record. The identities of the two victims remains unknown at this time, but authorities have released information indicating that a live mortar exploded at the Totall Metal plant killing two employees and injuring another.

A local news agency began an investigation into the company's ownership and found records from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration citing the metal recycling company for over a dozen violations related to safety in just the last five years. Some of the violations included workers being exposed to lead, fumes and death. The violations reportedly occurred at two plants owned by the company, one in Granite City, Illinois, and another in Fairmont City, Illinois.

An investigator with OSHA spoke with a reporter and indicated that the agency has begun an investigation into Totall Metals, particularly with regards to their safety standards and protocols involving live munitions. Records show that Totall Metals has appealed every safety violation it has received within the last five years and has had all of those fines reduced by half.

A representative of Totall Metals issued a statement in response to the explosion saying that the company does have standing safety procedures in place that prohibit employees from coming into contact with live munitions. The spokesman also acknowledged the losses to the victims' families just prior to announcing that the plant will resume operations just two days after the accident.

Illinois workers have a right not to be injured as a result of preventable workplace accidents. Things like outdated safety protocols, faulty equipment and other workplace safety hazards can contribute to employees being harmed.

If you have been injured as a result of employer negligence you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, lost wages and medical costs.

Source: KSDK -5, "Granite City recycling plant has past violations" Leisa Zigman, Aug. 26, 2014

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