Three workers suffer amputations at food processing facility
A leading supplier of frozen specialty foods is facing more than $172,000 in OSHA fines after two workers at its Salina, Kansas, facility suffered amputations in separate incidents and a third suffered lacerations and burns.
"Three women's lives were dramatically altered because their employer failed to protect them from hazardous operating machinery parts," said Judy Freeman, OSHA area director in Wichita. "Each year, thousands of workers like these suffer amputation and other injuries that are preventable when basic safety guards are in place and proper procedures are followed. Schwan's needs to protect their workers, and they need to do it now."
The inspections that resulted in the citations found:
Aug. 11, 2015: A 55-year-old worker was picking up pizza crumbs and crust that had collected around the oven when her work glove was caught in the unguardedconveyor chain and sprocket drive assembly. Surgeons had to amputate her right hand. She was unable to work for 55 days.
Sept. 30, 2015: A 49-year-old employee reached into the area of the conveyor to clear a jam of pizza pans. She sustained a laceration, fractures and burns to the palm of left hand. Investigators determined safety guardswere not installed on operating parts between the top and bottom conveyors. The machine should have been prevented from operating while unjamming the pizza pans. She was unable to work for 46 days following the injury.
Oct. 23, 2015: A 55-year-old employee was walking under a conveyor in the "new bakery" area, when she reached up to get her balance. As she attempted to stand, her hand inadvertently contacted an unguarded chain and sprocket on the underneath side of a conveyor. As a result, the employee's middle finger on her left hand was de-gloved and amputated.
The Schwan Food Company has more than 13,000 employees, with 1,300 of them at the Salina processing facility. Based in Minnesota, the company sells frozen foods through grocery stores, supermarkets and the food-service industry.