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OSHA Investigates Farm Accident that Caused Two Teens’ Deaths

The Chicago Tribune reported earlier this week that “representatives of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are in northwestern Illinois today, continuing an investigation into the electrocution deaths Monday of two 14-year-old girls working in a cornfield.”

The young girls, Hannah Kendall and Jade Garza, both of Sterling came into contact with a field irrigator while removing tassels from corn and were electrocuted. The girls were two of the 72 contract workers for Monsanto Corp. who were in that field at the time working. According to a release from Monsanto, the young women were “electrically shocked by a center pivot irrigation system.” The release also acknowledged that other workers in the same area reported feeling a shock.

In addition to the two fatalities, two others were seriously injured and hospitalized and six more were treated for non-life-threatening injuries. There is no update on the condition of the two seriously injured individuals.

As a precaution, in the days following the accident Monsanto had no workers de-tasseling in the field in that particular area. The company did indicate that employees receive training advising them to walk around irrigation systems and that nothing like this has previously occurred.

It may take up to 6 months to complete OSHA’s accident investigation to determine exactly how this tragedy occurred and whether it could have been prevented.

Chicago workers compensation attorneys advise clients that it is the responsibility of the employer to provide adequate training and a safe working environment for all employees. Additionally, while some may be surprised at the age of the young workers involved in this particular accident, there are specific laws in place for farm workers.

“According to Department of Labor Youth Employment laws for farm jobs, 12-and-13-year-olds can work farm jobs of this nature with parental consent, 14- and 15-year-olds can work non-hazardous farm jobs outside school hours, and 16-year-olds can work any farm job,” according to the Trib.

If you or a loved one have suffered an injury in the workplace, contact a Chicago workers compensation attorney right away. Do not wait until mounting medical bills and loss of income put a strain on you financially. Our Chicago workers compensation lawyers have experience in working with employers and insurance companies to insure that you receive your settlement without unnecessary delays so you can concentrate on getting better.

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  • Steven Malman was selected to the list for 2018-2019.

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  • As the founder of Steven J. Malman and Associates, P.C., Attorney Steven Malman has 21 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, premises liability, construction and workers’ compensation cases. Mr. Malman is one of Chicago’s leading authorities on personal injury law and has taken a special interest in defending the elderly from neglect and abuse. He has personally handled over 10,000 cases successfully, and collected hundreds of millions dollars for his clients.

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