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Exposition Contractor Faces Fines After forklift Injures Worker

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Chicago, IL (WorkersCompensation.com) - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Global Experience Specialists with four, including one willful, alleged safety violations after a worker was injured in a forklift incident at Chicago's McCormick Place Convention Center in September 2012. The Las Vegas-based trade show and exposition contractor faces proposed fines of $91,000.

An employee from another company working in the convention center severely injured his foot when he was struck by a Global Experience Specialist worker operating a powered industrial truck. After the incident, Global Experience Specialists failed to train or check the certification of the forklift operator.

"Employers, such as Global Experience Specialists, who rely on the use of forklifts in their daily operations, have a responsibility to train their workers in proper operations and to correct deficiencies immediately to prevent hazardous incidents from occurring," said Gary Anderson, OSHA's area director in Calumet City. "OSHA is committed to protecting workers on the job, especially when employers fail to do so."

One willful violation was cited for failing to ensure powered industrial truck operators are trained. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.

Three serious violations were cited for exposing workers to fall hazards during rigging operations and struck by hazards by not ensuring sufficient safe clearance to operate a forklift in aisles, loading docks and through doorways. The employer failed to train forklift operators in site-specific hazards, such as pedestrian traffic areas. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Global Experience Specialists has been inspected 26 times by OSHA since 1993, resulting in the issuance of 74 citations. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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