Confectionery firm Ferrara Candy Company was issued a fine of $485,008 by the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for violations of machine safety standards at its Bellwood, IL facility, the workplace safety regulator announced in a release Tuesday.
OSHA opened an investigation after receiving an employer-reported referral in January following an incident where a worker lost their fingertip after making contact with an unguarded rotary valve. In March, Ferrara reported to OSHA that a worker was hospitalized after getting caught in machinery at the Bellwood plant.
“Amputations are preventable when employers comply with required machine guarding and lockout/tagout standards,” Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt said in a statement. “Employers must take proactive steps to develop and implement energy control procedures to minimize risk to their workers.”
The company was cited for inadequate machine guarding and failing to control hazardous energy sources, provide lockout/tagout devices, and perform periodic inspections of lockout procedures and train employees on these procedures. OSHA also issued citations to Ferrara for failing to maintain electrical protective gloves, conduct safety-related employee training on electrical hazards, provide insulated electrical tools, install permanent electrical wiring and record a work-related injury.
“Proper safety procedures, including machine guarding and the effective lockout of all sources of energy, could have prevented these employees’ injuries,” Chicago North OSHA Area Director Angeline Loftus said in the release. “Employers have a legal responsibility to train workers and protect them from exposure to hazards in the workplace.”
Ferrara has 15 business days after receiving the citations to comply, challenge the findings before an independent panel, or request an informal conference with an OSHA area director.