Manufacturing's Winner And Loser: Even Winners Have Recalls

This week's winner issued a voluntary recall — but it's a good thing. This week's loser is facing $124,000 in fines for repeated safety offenses.

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This week's winner issued a voluntary recall — but it's a good thing. This week's loser is facing $124,000 in fines for repeated safety offenses. 

Winner

Generally, our winners of the week involve manufacturers who have created a new technology, improved their production, added jobs or something similar in nature. This week however, the winner is a little bit different. 

U.S. chocolate maker Mars issued a voluntary recall earlier this week for various candy bars produced from its Netherlands factory after a single piece of plastic was found in a candy bar in Germany. The recall affects 55 countries and a time frame of products with "best before" dates between June 19, 2016 and January 8, 2017. 

While recalls can be expensive and difficult, they are not always avoidable. That makes it even more critical for a company to be quick and thorough as soon as an issue arises to ensure they are addressing the problem before it gets out of hand.

Perhaps a more dramatic example would be GM's ignition switch scandal — a lawsuit revealed the company knew about the ignition switch problem more than a decade before the recall was issued. If GM would have reacted faster, it could have made all the difference and likely even saved lives.

Loser

This week's loser exemplified the opposite of taking fast action, on the other hand, after OSHA found the manufacturer continued to expose its workers to injuries due to a lack of machine safeguards. This is not the first time the plant has been cited for this particular safety issue. 

Copper wire manufacturer Tecnofil Chenango SAC is facing $124,000 in fines after one willful, seven repeated and nine serious violations. OSHA had previously cited the plant in 2013 for inadequate or missing safegaurds on operating parts of machines.

The recent inspection found similar and new hazards, including bypassing interlocks designed to stop machiens from operating while their doors are open. OSHA also found unguarded platforms which posed falling threats of up to eight feet, slipping and tripping hazards and potential electric shock from ungrounded equipment.

“The breadth and recurring nature of these hazards is disturbing. The purpose of machine guarding is simple: to prevent any part of an employee’s body from coming in contact with a machine’s moving parts. This can result in such serious or fatal injuries as crushing, lacerations and amputations. Tecnofil Chenango must take prompt, effective and ongoing action to eliminate these hazards once and for all,” said Christopher Adams, OSHA’s Syracuse area director. 

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