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Factory in fatal collapse had history of safety violations

Connecticut and federal officials try to make sure that workplaces are safe, but they can't prevent every accident. What's worse, some employers have a history of not doing their part to watch out for the safety of their employees.

Connecticut residents may have read about a recent disaster that killed at least two employees and injured 17 others at a factory in another state. The International Nutrition company's animal feed manufacturing plant collapsed in January, after some witnesses said they heard an explosion.

Emergency crews worked for hours in freezing temperatures to free the bodies of two workers who died when they were trapped under rubble. Authorities said the two were found in different parts of the building, showing that the collapse covered a wide area. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration was investigating the accident.

The International Nutrition factory has been cited by OSHA for safety violations in the past. In 2002, it was fined $13,000 in connection with a fatal accident in which a worker fell into a turning mixer. OSHA cited the factory in 2012 for lack of certain safety equipment.

Federal law protects can protect workers when they report workplace safety issues to OSHA or cooperate with an OSHA investigation.

It's important to remember that workplace accidents can happen at any type of workplace, not just the ones with histories of safety violations or accidents. When Connecticut workers are injured in an accident at work, they can receive workers' compensation benefits to help them pay for medical expenses and deal with the financial loss from missing days at work while they recover.

Source: Connecticut Post, "2nd body recovered from Omaha plant that collapsed," Margery A. Beck, Jan. 22, 2014

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