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Occupational disease investigation reveals more safety violations

In some factory settings, Missouri workers are exposed to occupational hazards in almost every activity in which they participate. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently reported on an investigation into exposure to dangerous chemicals that can cause occupational disease. During the course of the inquiry, investigators found life-threatening safety violations in several other areas of the factory.

The subject of the investigation, Symrise Inc., is a manufacturer of fragrances and flavorings in another state. The investigation was launched six months ago after a workplace injury was reported. Investigators determined that workers were not protected against potential chronic respiratory illnesses associated with a hazardous chemical called diacetyl. Initial symptoms after exposure include breathing problems, coughing and fatigue during physical exertion that can ultimately cause organ damage.

Other violations included the company's failure to evaluate confined spaces for permit requirement and also the lack of a safety program related to confined spaces. Furthermore, workers were exposed to work platforms without safety railings on open sides. The lack of a lockout/tagout program to protect employees from unanticipated activation of equipment was included in the list of serious violations discovered.

Being exposed to hazards that pose threats of occupational disease and physical injuries will naturally concern workers and their families. However, they may find comfort knowing that they will be entitled to pursue compensation if they come to any harm while at work. The Missouri workers' compensation program offers insurance coverage that will provide compensation for medical expenses as well as lost wages. The wage compensation package is typically based on the injured worker's basic salary level.

Source: nj.com, "Branchburg flavoring and fragrance company fined $122K by OSHA", Dave Hutchinson, Dec. 3, 2015

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