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Region 5 News Release: 08-54-CHI
Feb. 7, 2008
Contact: Scott Allen or Brad Mitchell
Phone: 312-353-6976 or 708-601-4768

U.S. Labor Department's OSHA announces workplace safety violations against Steris Isomedix Services in Waukegan, Ill.
Federal agency proposes $117,000 in penalties against business

WAUKEGAN, Ill. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $117,000 in fines against Steris Isomedix Services Inc., a medical devices sterilization company in Waukegan, for repeat and serious violations of federal workplace safety standards.

As the result of a safety and health inspection conducted in August 2007, OSHA issued Steris Isomedix Services citations for three repeat violations, with proposed penalties of $62,500, for failing to provide adequate protection, training, monitoring and emergency plans regarding employee exposure to ethylene oxide (EtO), a dangerous, colorless gas used in the sterilization process.

OSHA also issued the company citations for 12 serious violations, with proposed penalties of $54,500, for its failure to address hazards associated with exposures to EtO; implement engineering controls to lower employee exposure to EtO levels exceeding OSHA's permissible exposure limits; provide baseline medical examinations for employees prior to working with EtO; and address the absence of guardrails on platforms and scaffolding.

Stressing that OSHA will take swift action against employers who violate safety hazards, Diane Turek, OSHA's area director in Des Plaines, Ill., said: “This company's continued disregard for the welfare of its employees is inexcusable. This case demonstrates the importance of following appropriate occupational safety and health standards to reduce and prevent injuries, illnesses and fatalities in the workplace.”

Steris Isomedix Services employs 37 people in Waukegan. It is a subsidiary of Steris Corp., headquartered in Mentor, Ohio, which employs 5,000 people companywide. Previously, OSHA inspected the company five times between 1999 and 2006 at various locations.

Steris Isomedix Services has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit


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Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents

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