Illinois Chemical Accident at Construction Site Leads to Worker’s Death: Illinois Jury Finds For Worker’s Estate

Illinois construction companies have an obligation to provide a safe work environment for their employees and do what they can to avoid Illinois construction site accidents. Because of this duty on the part of construction companies, Illinois construction workers can generally assume that the equipment and materials at a construction site are safe and hazard-free.

However, sometimes this is not the reality, in which case an Illinois construction site injury can result from the failure of a construction company to provide a safe and healthy work environment. Consider the case of Diaz v. Archer Daniels Midland Company, 07 L 142 (Ill., Macon County), in which a 26 year-old construction worker was fatally injured as a result of an Illinois construction site accident.

At the time of his Illinois construction site injury, Francisco Garcia was working for a contractor who had been hired to perform work at the Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Bioproducts plant. Garcia was busy insulating pipes 15 feet in the air while harnessed to a scissors lift. While Garcia was working, a nearby waste compression system over-pressurized, spraying him with scalding steam, toxic chemicals and boiling water.

The scissor lift that Garcia was harnessed to was not able to be lowered, so Garcia struggled out of his harness in order to escape the spraying hot liquid waste and fell to the floor. Garcia sustained third-degree burns that caused his skin to begin peeling off even as his co-workers struggled to get him to the plant safety showers.

The third degree burns covered 90% of his body and Garcia was not able to recover from the Illinois construction site injury. He died the next day, leaving behind his parents and siblings. Mr. Garcia’s family reside in Mexico and he had been using his earnings of about $35,000 per year to help support them.

Mr. Garcia’s estate sued ADM alleging the plant negligently maintained the waste compression device. The evidence brought forth during trial showed that the plant had similar problems with the machine several days before the incident and that it had taken it offline.

While removing the faulty machine from service was inarguably the right move, the company failed to sustain these safety precautions. Instead, it put the machine back on line about 30 minutes before it malfunctioned and sprayed Garcia. The Illinois jury found in favor of the decedent’s estate and awarded $6.7 million in damages.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois construction site injury cases for over 30 years, serving those areas in and around Cook County, including Schaumburg, Berwyn, Oak Lawn, and Lincolnwood.

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