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Candy maker Ferrara fined by OSHA for allegedly exposing workers to amputation hazards

Ferrara Candy Co. has been cited for alleged safety violations at its Bellwood, Illinois, candy factory, two years after being placed in a severe violator enforcement program over safety issues, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Wednesday.

OSHA said Ferrara exposed workers to amputation hazards at the facility because it did not utilize energy control procedures before workers cleared jams and serviced equipment.

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OSHA inspectors found the alleged violations after an April complaint of unsafe working conditions. The agency has proposed the company pay penalties of more than $200,000.

“Ferrara Candy Co. knows its workers can suffer debilitating injuries, such as amputations, when machines are not properly de-energized before servicing or maintaining them,” said Angeline Loftus, OSHA director for the Chicago North Area, in a statement. “Yet, company personnel continue to expose employees needlessly to these hazards.”

The company was also cited for not providing an eyewash station and for allowing workers to operate powered industrial vehicles in states of disrepair.

Ferrara has 15 business days to comply with the penalties, contest them or request an informal conference with the OSHA area director.

It’s not the first time Ferrara was fined for similar alleged violations at the Bellwood facility. In 2020, one worker suffered a fingertip amputation after coming in contact with an unguarded rotary valve and another was hospitalized after being caught in a machine, according to OSHA.

Ferrara paid fines of nearly $330,00 after those incidents and was placed in a severe violator enforcement program. Ferrara is no longer in the severe violators program and was not at the time of the investigation, according to Scott Allen, the U.S. Department of Labor’s regional director of public affairs.

And in March, the company was cited for an alleged safety violation at a facility on 110th Street in Chicago. The company reached an informal settlement in that case and agreed to pay penalties of about $14,500. The case remains open.

A Ferrara spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday morning.

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This story was originally published September 28, 2022 1:07 PM.

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