A simple task for an employee at Wegmans Food Market Inc.’s commercial bakery in Rochester instead resulted in a needless and severe injury. As the worker cleaned an operating conveyor belt and roller on Dec. 16, 2015, her hand was caught between the belt and the roller and the machine pulled it in. She sustained broken bones in her hand and arm.

How it happened

An investigation by the Buffalo Area Office of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that – in violation of the agency’s hazardous energy control standard -- bakery employees cleaned the conveyor belt and roller routinely without turning it off and locking out its power source. Investigators also found Wegmans failed to train employees on how to do so. OSHA cited the bakery for similar hazards in October 2011 and September 2015.

An "unfortunate" pattern

“These hazards and the injury that resulted were preventable. They also reflect an unfortunate and needless pattern. OSHA has repeatedly cited the bakery for similar lockout and training hazards over the past five years, including incidents in 2015 in which one employee sustained a finger injury and another suffered a first-degree burn,” said Michael Scime, OSHA’s area director in Buffalo. “Wegmans must take effective and ongoing action to ensure that its bakery employees are properly trained and safeguarded so that incidents and injuries such as these do not happen again.”

As a result of its latest inspection, OSHA has now cited Wegmans for two repeated violations of workplace safety standards and proposed a total of $140,000 in fines for those violations. The new citations can be viewed here.

Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. is an 89-store supermarket chain with stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts.