OSHA Proposes Penalties After Worker at Tootsie Roll Manufacturing Plant Faces Amputation from Injury

OSHA Proposes Penalties After Worker at Tootsie Roll Manufacturing Plant Faces Amputation from Injury

The company was issued one willful violation for failing to ensure proper machine guards.

A 48-year-old worker for Tootsie Roll Industries LLC suffered a partial finger amputation after his/her employer allowed bypassed safety locks on a machine’s access doors that enabled a bag sealer to close on an employee’s finger. The U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA inspection of the incident that occurred on April 19, 2021 found that the worker reached into an unguarded machine to remove stuck paper debris when the bag seal’s jaws closed, according to a press release.

OSHA issued one willful violation for inadequate machine guarding and proposed $136,532 in penalties.

“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.”

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent OSHRC.

About the Author

Shereen Hashem is the Associate Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety magazine.

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