Just six weeks after a machine amputated a maintenance Kerry Inc. worker's left hand — as he cleared jammed material stuck in a machine at its Melrose Park bread products facility — the company reported a second worker's right forearm suffered multiple fractures as he cleaned another machine. 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.
On Dec. 5 the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration proposed penalties of $86,942 for one repeated and two serious violations to Kerry Inc., a leading 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, NJ 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 based in Beloit, WI.
Kerry has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.