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Wisconsin refinery cited after chemical explosion

In Superior, Wisconsin, Superior Refining Company LLC was the location of a hazardous explosion that resulted in a fire at the plant. A number of workers got hurt in the blast and/or the ensuing blaze.

That did not go unnoticed, as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) -- a branch of the U.S. Department of Labor -- has now investigated and alleged that the company failed to "control the use and release of highly hazardous chemicals."

All told, the investigators said that they found no less than eight significant violations, which appear to be related to the proper process safety management procedures. As a result, they have proposed fines that total $83,150.

That does not mean the entire event is over, though. Once the refinery gets the citations, they then have three weeks -- 15 business days -- to contest the findings, set up a meeting with the area director for OSHA or pay the fines. If they opt to contest them, it could drag the process out even longer.

The area office director did say that the company had been cooperating with the OSHA investigation. Production was shut down until the investigation could be completed. The director also noted that the original accident was preventable if the proper steps had been taken in advance.

When hazardous chemicals are not properly controlled, workers can be exposed to incredibly dangerous levels on a daily basis. This can lead to sickness and disease, or in some cases, fires and explosions. Either way, when workers suffer serious injuries on the job, they must know what rights they have to seek compensation.

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