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Probe Launched At Recycling Plant After Worker's Death

MELROSE PARK, Ill. (STMW) -- Workplace safety officials are investigating a west suburban recycling facility where an employee died Monday in a forklift accident.

The death marks the second fatal accident since 2007 for the company, which has been cited previously for forklift safety violations.

Osvaldo Bautista, 34, died after he was injured at work at 3800 W. Lake St. in Melrose Park, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office.

A recycling center belonging to JKS Ventures is located at the Melrose Park address.

Bautista was an employee at the JKS Ventures recycling facility and was on-duty when he was involved in an accident with a forklift truck, said Diane Turek, spokeswoman for the Chicago North office Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Bautista, of the 5500 block of West 26th Street in Cicero, was pronounced dead at 1:07 p.m. Monday at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, the medical examiner's office said. A Tuesday autopsy found that he died of compression asphyxia and ruled the death an accident, according to the medical examiner's office.

OSHA officials arrived at the facility about 2:30 p.m., shortly after the accident occurred, Turek said. Officials are investigating, although no citations relating to Monday's accident had been issued against the company as of Wednesday morning.

JKS Ventures has previously been cited by OSHA in three separate instances since 2000, Turek said. In 2007, a worker greasing a conveyor died after falling 23 feet from the machinery OSHA records indicate. The company was issued 21 serious citations following that accident, including citations relating to forklift operations, according to Turek and OSHA records.

A follow-up inspection in 2008 led to two more citations, one of which was also for forklift safety issues, records indicate.

During Monday's accident, Bautista became pinned between a forklift and a semi tractor trailer, sources said.

Melrose Park police and fire officials did not return calls seeking comment.

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