Illinois House Minority Leader Tony McCombie (R-Savanna) has appointed State Representatives Jeff Keicher (R-Sycamore) and Dan Ugaste (R-Geneva) to serve on the Warehouse Safety Standards Task Force. The task force was created to improve safety and access to emergency resources following the collapse of an Amazon warehouse that was struck by a tornado in late 2021.
Rep. Keicher, who has more than 25 years of experience in the insurance industry, said, “I want to thank Leader McCombie for this appointment. As our economy has shifted to increased reliance on warehouse facilities to manage the delivery of goods and services to consumers, we need to ensure these facilities have the right safety features and protocols in place to protect workers from worst-case scenarios. I look forward to utilizing my experience in the insurance industry to help the task force offer proposals that will improve safety standards.”
Despite having 11-inch-thick concrete walls and being built within all applicable codes, six people were killed and several others injured when an EF3 tornado struck an Amazon warehouse in the southern Illinois community of Edwardsville in December of 2021. This tragic incident demonstrated the need to evaluate warehouse safety and construction standards, as well as improve emergency policies and access to resources in the event of a natural disaster.
Rep. Ugaste, an attorney who specialized in workers compensation and business insurance litigation for more than 35 years, said, “I am honored to be appointed by Leader McCombie to this task force that will study and update safety standards. The safety of all warehouse workers is of the utmost importance. With severe weather-related events always a concern in Illinois, we must do everything we can to put the proper safeguards in place to prevent injuries or tragic loss of life.”
The Warehouse Safety Standards Task Force consists of sixteen members, half of which are members of the General Assembly, while the other half consists of individuals representing workers and businesses and is chaired by the Director of the Illinois Department of Labor. All the task force members serve without compensation and are tasked with delivering a report of policy recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly no later than January 1, 2025.
For more information about the task force, click here.