A 41-year-old worker cleaning product waste from a factory floor suffered severe scalp injuries and multiple lacerations when a machine caught her hairnet, resulting in her hospitalization for four days. This is the third serious injury involving machine hazards reported this year by Hearthside Food Solutions LLC, which bakes cookies and crackers for national brands.
After an inspection, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued Hearthside one repeated, three serious and one other-than-serious safety violation on Nov. 17 for failing to protect workers from machinery operating parts. OSHA has proposed penalties of $47,000 for the July 2015 injury.
“It is hard to imagine how frightened this worker must have been as the machine pulled her in by her hair. Three times this year, an employee of Hearthside Food Solutions suffered life-altering injuries because the company continues to fail to protect its workers,” said Kim Nelson, OSHA’s area director in Toledo. “It is disheartening to cite an employer repeatedly for the same hazards.”
OSHA cited the company in April 2015 and September after workers had fingertips amputated in accidents at the plant. Hearthside reported the three injuries to OSHA under a rule that took effect in January 2015, which requires employers to report amputations and workplace hospitalizations to the agency within 24 hours.
The company settled the citations issued in April 2015, and has contested those issued in September.
Based in Downers Grove, IL, Hearthside Food Solutions is the food industry’s largest contract manufacturer of baked goods and bars. With 23 facilities in North America and Europe, the company employs approximately 6000 workers, nearly 1800 of them at the McComb plant.
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