OSHA Cites Illinois Food Manufacturer for 20th Time in 5 Years

A worker suffered an amputation injury last fall.

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ROMEOVILLE, Ill. – Twenty times in the past five years, federal workplace safety investigators have cited a food manufacturer for exposing workers to amputation and other serious hazards.

On Oct. 30, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration received another employer-reported referral from Hearthside Food Solutions Inc.’s Romeoville facility after a maintenance employee suffered the amputation of one finger and the partial amputation of another while troubleshooting a carton-closing machine. Investigators determined the worker’s hand had contacted the machine’s pulley.

OSHA cited Hearthside Food Solutions for one serious, one repeated and one willful violation for failing to use lockout/tagout procedures to control hazardous energy sources. The company also failed to test machine safety procedures periodically for effectiveness and develop adequate procedures to control hazardous energy sources.

The agency has proposed penalties of $231,625.

“OSHA standards are put in place to prevent workers from suffering life-altering injuries,” said OSHA’s Chicago South Area Director James Martineck in Tinley Park, Illinois. “This company’s history of violating federal standards shows a corporate culture that lacks urgency to keep workers safe. Hearthside Food should immediately re-evaluate its training and safety procedures at all of its facilities.”

Based in Downers Grove, Hearthside Food operates 38 food production and packaging locations across the U.S. and Europe. The company makes and sells energy, snack and nutrition bars, as well as cookies, crackers, baked snacks, fresh and frozen foods under various name brands. Founded in 2009, Crain’s Chicago Business ranked the company as the 16th largest business in the Chicago area in 2019.

OSHA’s machine guarding and control of hazardous energy webpages provide information on what employers must do to limit worker exposure to machine hazards.

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