Lockout Accident Costs Employee 1 Finger and Ice Cream Co $103,000

Lakewood, NJ – A preventable lockout/tagout accident at a New Jersey ice cream manufacturer has left one employee missing a finger and the company owing $103,000 in fines to OSHA.

OSHA fined the ice cream maker, Mister Cookie Face, located near Rutgers University, $103,000 after an employee lost a finger and fractured another while performing maintenance on a machine. An inspection by the U.S. Department of Labor found numerous “machine safety hazards,” according to a release from the department.

The department cited the company, which manufactures ice cream bars and sandwiches, for not having a safety lockout procedure on the machine that would have prevented it from starting unexpectedly during maintenance activities.

Lockout procedures provide detailed instruction on how to isolate and lock each energy source for a given piece of equipment, helping to prevent the startup of machinery or equipment that may result in injuring a worker.  As OSHA’s regional director stated, “this injury could have been avoided with worker training and the use of lockout/tagout procedures.”

Mister Cookie Face was also penalized for not making sure employees used “personal protective equipment,” not providing an eyewash station where employees used corrosive chemicals and for exposing its employees to “bloodborne pathogen hazards.”

The Mister Cookie Face is owned by Fieldbrook Foods Corp of Dunkirk, New York.

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Willful Violations Lead to Preventable Amputation

Pennsauken, NJ – Failure to implement OSHA recommendations has led to an amputation and over $200,000 in fines for willful violations documented at an NJ snack food manufacturing facility.

A worker at J&J Snack Foods Corporation suffered a partial finger amputation in a lockout accident that could have been prevented by rectifying prior violations identified by OSHA. Following an investigation, J&J faces $206,019 in fines for federal workplace safety violations, including willful violations.

OSHA’s investigation found that failures to correct previously issued workplace safety violations led to the amputation accident at J&J’s Pennsauken manufacturing facility. The snack-food maker failed to correct prior violations of safety procedures known as lockout/tagout procedures which are written instructions for de-energizing each piece of equipment.

OSHA inspectors determined that the worker was cleaning a machine when it activated. This is typical of accidents whose cause can be traced back to lockout/tagout failures or energy control hazards.

Million of American workers service equipment as a part of their job, and these people face the greatest risk of injury if lockout/tagout is not properly implemented. It is estimated that compliance with the federal lockout/tagout standard prevents 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries each year. Workers injured on the job from exposure to hazardous energy lose an average of 24 workdays for recuperation. OSHA’s area director stated that “the employer’s failure to correct previously identified violations and follow basic safety standards resulted in this preventable incident.”

J&J was cited for willfully failing to conduct periodic inspections of energy control procedures used to de-energize equipment when cleaning; failing to implement lockout procedures to prevent unintentional machine start-up; and failing to train employees on lockout/tagout procedures and energy hazards.

OSHA requires that employees be trained on lockout policies and procedures. Training is done to ensure that the purpose and function of the energy control program are understood by employees, and that the knowledge and skills required for the safe application, usage, and removal of the energy controls are acquired by employees.

J&J Snack Foods Corp manufactures popular snack foods like soft pretzels, churros, water ice, and frozen lemonade for popular brands sold throughout the United States.

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Lockout Failure Results in Amputation at Chicago-area Poultry Facility

Chicago, IL – OSHA has proposed penalties of $52,500 against Aspen Foods, Inc after a worker lost part of his finger in a machine. The employee lost part of his right middle finger while clearing a paper jam on a machine that lacked adequate safety guards. The northwest suburban Chicago-area poultry processing facility is based in Park Ridge and provides food service, retail and quick-serve chicken products.

OSHA inspectors found the machine lacked adequate safety guards to protect workers from dangerous moving parts by using locking devices to prevent operation while clearing the paper jam, known as lockout/tagout procedures. OSHA also issued four serious violations to Koch Foods Inc. which does business as Aspen Foods.

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Hearthside Cited for LOTO Violation

McComb, OH – “America’s Bakery,” Hearthside Food Solutions, is facing $52,500 in proposed federal fines after a McComb (OH) factory employee lost part of a finger due to neglect of Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) procedures.

OSHA found that a lack of adequate safeguards on a dough-cutting machine cost a 55-LOTOyear-old worker part of his right middle finger while he was unjamming the machine. Safeguards that protect workers maintaining machinery are known in the industry as lockout/tagout procedures.

Hearthside Food Solutions was cited for a similar violation in 2010, and twice this year for failing to turn off the machine during maintenance and for not training employees on safety procedures to prevent exposure to moving parts, according to OSHA.

Hearthside bills themselves as the “food industry’s largest contract manufacturer of baked goods and bars.” They make cookies and crackers for Nabisco, Kellogg’s and General Mills. Based in Downers Grove, Illinois, Hearthside Food Solutions has 23 facilities in North America and Europe. The company employs about 6,000 workers, nearly 1,800 of them at the McComb plant.

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Wegmans NY Bakery Division Fined $188K for Repeated Violations

Rochester, NY – The NY-based supermarket Wegmans faces fines totaling $188,000 following an investigation of two worker injuries at their bakery facility in Rochester, N.Y. OSHA cited Wegmans on Sept. 1 for three repeated and two serious violations while proposing fines totaling $188,200. After an inspection, the agency accused Wegmans of failing to properly train employees, ensuring that a machine’s moving parts had the proper safeguards, for providing inadequate hand and face protections for workers, and more.

OSHA claims that in March, a sanitation crew member lost a fingertip when it caught in the pinch point of an operating conveyor that he was cleaning. A month later, a mechanic sustained a first degree burn on his wrist when steam released while he attempted to repair a valve. The subsequent inspection by OSHA’s Buffalo (NY) office found hazardous conditions similar to those cited by the agency during a 2011 inspection of the same facility. Wegmans Food Markets faces proposed fines of more than $188,000 for these “recurring hazards.”

In the case of the amputation, OSHA found that Wegmans failed to turn off and lock out the conveyor’s power source, train employees in how to do this, and ensure the conveyor’s moving parts were protected against contact. In the steam burn incident, the company failed to develop a procedure to lockout the valve supplying steam to the pipe. The recurring hazards led the agency to cite Wegmans for three repeated violations with $175,000 in proposed fines. Additionally, OSHA cited the company for inadequate hand and face protection for the employees who worked on the steam valve, with fines amounting to $13,200.

Wegmans disputes the findings: “We work hard to maintain a safe workplace everywhere. Even one injury to an employee is too many for us…The current rate of workplace accidents at Wegmans is the lowest in our history.”

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