TOLEDO, OHIO — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Toledo area office has issued a citation to Hearthside Food Solutions L.L.C. for an incident at the company’s McComb, Ohio, facility. The company, which produces cookies and crackers at the plant, was cited for one repeated and two serious safety violations. The proposed penalty is $52,500.
According to the OSHA filing, an investigation was opened after a worker lost part of his right middle finger while unjamming a dough-cutting machine. Inspectors found the machine lacked adequate guarding to protect him from dangerous moving parts. OSHA said Hearthside Food Solutions was cited for a similar violation at the same facility in 2010, resulting in the issuance of one repeated violation.
Responding to the citation, Hearthside Foods iterated its deep commitment to worker safety.
“Our 19 facility network invests constantly in all aspects of safety; including processes, equipment, and training,” the company said in an e-mailed statement. “Evidence of our ongoing safety record is an OSHA Incident Rate (OIR) of 1.6 compared to an industry average of 5.0.
“This OSHA-generated statistic makes us one of the industry’s safest food producers. It is an official statistic that has improved every year since we began this company. Everyone at Hearthside treats safety as a governing value, placing it above all other concerns.”
OSHA also issued two serious violations for failing to turn off the machine during maintenance and not training employees on safety procedures to prevent exposure to operating parts.
|Kim Nelson, OSHA’s area director in Toledo|
“This worker suffered the permanent loss of part of his finger because his employer of three years failed to follow basic safety procedures,” said Kim Nelson, OSHA’s area director in Toledo. “It is disheartening to cite an employer repeatedly for hazards they know are exposing workers to life-altering injuries like this.”Based in Downers Grove, Ill., 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 about 6,000 workers, nearly 1,800 of them at the McComb plant.