Machine safety is critical to our workforce. Virtually every job involves a machine of some sort, and many of them pose serious safety risks unless handled carefully.
One of the most basic safety protocols around machines is to power them down completely before adjusting or servicing them. This referred to as “lockout/tagout.” When companies don’t follow lockout/tagout procedures, they put their workers at risk of grave harm, including amputation.
Yet the Ferrara Candy Co., a Chicago-based candy maker, allegedly exposes its workers to the risk of amputation on a regular basis. A recent OSHA inspection of its Bellwood plant found that Ferrara did not follow lockout/tagout procedures before allowing workers to clear jams or otherwise service the equipment. This was the plant’s third citation in five years for lockout/tagout violations.
The inspection, which came from a complaint about unsafe working conditions, the plant didn’t even have specific lockout/tagout procedures in place. For that and other violations, OSHA proposed to fine the company over $200,000.
The Ferrara Candy Co. manufactures non-chocolate candy nationwide. It had 15 days from receipt of the citation to pay the fine or dispute the findings.
“Ferrara Candy Co. knows its workers can suffer debilitating injuries, such as amputations, when machines are not properly de-energized before servicing or maintaining them,” said an OSHA spokesperson. “Yet, company personnel continue to expose employees needlessly to these hazards.”
You don’t need an OSHA finding to claim workers’ comp. You just need an injury.
The workers’ compensation system does not depend on fault. If you are injured or sickened as you went about your work duties, you should be covered by workers’ comp. If you are denied, you have the right to appeal.