Federal authorities say that a candy manufacturing plant in Chicago should pay more than $136,000 in fines after an employee lost part of a finger.
It happened on April 19 at Tootsie Roll Industries LLC. The employ, 48, reportedly “suffered a partial finger amputation” because the employer allegedly “allowed bypassed safety locks on a machine's access doors that enabled a bag sealer to close on an employee's finger,” according to a U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration news release issued Tuesday (October 5). OSHA’s inspection revealed that “the worker reached into an unguarded machine to remove stuck paper debris when the bag seal's jaws closed.”
Now, the U.S. Department of Labor is proposing $136,532 in penalties, in addition to one willful violation for inadequate machine guarding. The company has 15 business days after receiving the citations and penalties to respond, according to the OSHA release.
“Hundreds of workers are injured needlessly each year because employers ignore safety guards, often to speed up production, and that's exactly what happened in this case,” said OSHA Chicago South Area Director James Martineck in Tinley Park. “Employers must never put profits before people. When they do and fail to meet their obligations to keep workers safe, we will take action to hold them accountable.”