Just six weeks after a machine amputated a maintenance worker’s left hand as he cleared jammed material stuck in a machine at its Melrose Park, IL, bread products facility, the company reported a second worker’s right forearm suffered multiple fractures as he cleaned another machine, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Federal safety inspectors investigating the injuries found, in both instances, the company allowed employees to service machinery without isolating operating parts, a process known as lockout/tagout.
OSHA investigators proposed penalties of $86,942 for one repeated and two serious violations to Kerry Inc., a global food products company.
“The tragic loss of one employee’s hand failed to serve as a catalyst for Kerry to re-evaluate its machine safety procedures. Subsequently, the lack of such procedures caused a second worker to suffer severe injuries,” said Angeline Loftus, OSHA’s area director for its Chicago North Area Office in Des Plaines. “The injuries suffered by these employees could have been prevented if their employer had followed required safety procedures to isolate energy to machines before allowing workers to service them. Kerry needs to make immediate changes to its safety procedures to protect its workers on the job.”
Investigators determined the 52-year-old worker was clearing material in the bread crumb conveyor when his injury occurred on Aug. 17. The machine’s cyclone pulled his left hand into the machine, causing the amputation. On Sept. 27, a 57-year-old man’s forearm — who was cleaning a dough machine — was injured a mixing blade rotated unexpectedly.
OSHA also found the company failed to:
• Conduct periodic inspections of machine lockout/tag out procedures
• Document and utilize written energy control procedures when servicing machines
The agency cited Kerry for similar hazards in 2011 at the company’s Flemington, New Jersey facility.
Based in Ireland, Kerry provides food and beverage products to consumers in 140 countries. The multi-billion dollar company operates facilities on six continents and employs more than 20,000 worldwide. The company’s U.S. headquarters are in Beloit, Wisconsin.