Cal-OSHA Hits Hershey with $140,000 Fine for Severed Arm Incident

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health announced July 30 that Pennsylvania-based Hershey Co. has received two citations and faces fines totaling $140,000 as a result of a March accident at its plant in Oakdale, Calif. That accident happened to 32-year-old Erica Domen, who had worked at the chocolate factory for three years. On March 24, at around 1:20 a.m., she was cleaning a batter-sifting machine, when another worker accidentally turned the machine on, catching Domen's hand and removing her arm at the shoulder.

Cal-OSHA spokeswoman Kate McGuire said Hershey knew of the risks that allowed the accident to happen and didn't take preventative measures. She classified the citations as serious and willful. "This is an accident that did not need to happen," McGuire said.

Hershey spokesman Kirk Saville said the company has "strong safety programs" in all its facilities and plans to appeal the penalties. The Oakdale plant, which makes Kisses and other products for the nation's largest chocolate company, has been a major employer in Stanislaus County since opening in 1965. It is scheduled to close in January 2008 as part of a Hershey restructuring plan that will send production to Mexico.

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