Hostess Brands Faces OSHA Penalties Due to Worker AmputationHostess Brands Faces OSHA Penalties Due to Worker Amputation
A federal investigation led to a proposed $298K in penalties after finding the company did not follow required machine shut-down procedures.
June 20, 2023
In December 2022, a 29-year-old employee suffered the amputation of a fingertip while reassembling a pump at a Hostess Brands facility in Chicago. The employer could have prevented the injury by ensuring to shut down and lockout the equipment to prevent it from unexpectedly starting during maintenance, a U.S. Department of Labor investigation found.
Inspectors with the department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated after the leading snack food maker reported the injury and found the employer did not train workers on lockout/tagout procedures.
The agency also noted Hostess Brands failed to make sure shafts, sprockets, and moving parts on equipment such as a dough mixer, coolers, icing and wrapping stations, and box stoppers had required guarding in place to protect workers from contact with pinch points and moving parts.
OSHA inspectors cited the company for one willful violation, one repeat violation and five serious violations. The company faces $298,010 in proposed penalties.
After the December injury, OSHA expanded its inspection under the National Emphasis Program on Amputations for Manufacturing Industries. The program focuses on many hazards that can lead to serious injuries, illnesses and deaths.
"OSHA frequently finds that amputations and other injuries occur when manufacturers fail to make sure machine safety procedures are followed and employees are trained properly," said Chicago North OSHA Area Director Sukhvir Kaur in Arlington Heights. "Employers can spare their employees these kinds of painful injuries by complying with OSHA and industry-recognized safety standards."
OSHA has inspected Hostess Brands 12 times in Georgia, Illinois, and Kansas since 2018 and has cited the company for failing to protect employees' safety and health. In some of these investigations, the agency identified some of the same hazards identified in Chicago.
Hostess Brands LLC is a subsidiary of Hostess Brands Inc. based in Lenexa, KS. The company produces well-known packaged snack products, including doughnuts, cupcakes, cookies, and wafers. The snack company employs about 3,000 workers in Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, and in Ontario, Can.
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