CHICAGO — Hostess Brands Inc. is facing $298,010 in fines after the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the company for failing to require machine shut-down procedures. OSHA said the company’s failures led to the amputation of a fingertip of a 29-year-old worker who was injured while reassembling a pump at a Hostess plant in Chicago.
According to OSHA, Lenexa, Kan.-based Hostess did not train workers on lockout/tagout procedures. The agency also said Hostess 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.
In total, OSHA cited Hostess for one willful violation, one repeat violation and five serious violations related to the December 2022 injury.
“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 Sukhvir Kaur, Chicago North OSHA area director. “Employers can spare their employees these kinds of painful injuries by complying with OSHA and industry-recognized safety standards.”
Since 2018, OSHA said it has inspected Hostess Brands 12 times in Georgia, Illinois and Kansas and has cited them 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 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 Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.Hostess did not respond to a request for comment.