Safety and OSHA News

Tootsie Roll temp loses part of finger: $55K in OSHA fines

A temporary worker for a subsidiary of Tootsie Roll Industries lost part of his left index finger while operating a candy-wrapping machine. Tootsie Roll and the staffing agency face OSHA fines. 

MJR, a Boston staffing agency that does business as Snelling Staffing Services, supplied the temp worker to Cambridge Brands Inc., the Tootsie Roll subsidiary, for its Cambridge, MA, production facility. OSHA inspected the facility on Feb. 2, 2016, after learning of the temp’s injury.

OSHA hit Cambridge Brands with two repeat, three serious and one other-than-serious violations, including failure to:

  • train affected employees in the purpose and use of lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedures
  • certify that periodic inspections of LOTO procedures were performed
  • guard the nip points on a candy-wrapping machine, and
  • report the temp worker’s amputation to OSHA within 24 hours.

Snelling Staffing Services was also hit with two serious violations. The staffing agency failed to train its temporary employees on hearing conservation and LOTO procedures.

Cambridge Brands faces a $46,000 fine, and Snelling Staffing faces $9,000 in penalties. Cambridge Brands’ repeat violations stem from OSHA citing Tootsie Roll in 2010 and 2014 for similar machine-guarding violations at its Chicago location.

Anthony Covello, OSHA’s area director for Middlesex and Essex counties in Massachusetts, said in a press release:

“Both employers had a responsibility to adequately train temporary workers about hazards and safeguards associated with their work duties and both failed to do so. We found that temporary workers did not receive the same level of training as permanent employees at Cambridge Brands.”

Temporary workers in construction and manufacturing sectors have twice the rate of injuries as permanent employees, according to a recent OSHA publication. For each injury, temp workers also lose more days from work and receive less medical and time loss reimbursement payments.

Both companies have 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, meet with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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