On April 19, 2021, a worker at a Tootsie Roll manufacturing plant in Chicago suffered an amputation when a bag sealer closed on his finger.
The 48-year-old worker reached into an unguarded machine in the plant's Tootsie Pop Wrap Packaging Area to remove a paper jam when the bag seal's jaws closed on him.
An OSHA investigation found that Tootsie Roll Industries allowed the safety locks on the Robert's C-1500 Form, Fill and Seal Machine's access doors to be bypassed. The guarding devices were disabled so the machine could be operated in bypass mode.
On September 24, 2021, OSHA issued the company one willful serious violation for inadequate machine guarding with $136,532 in proposed penalties.
In a statement, OSHA Chicago South Area Director James Martineck said, “Hundreds of workers are injured needlessly each year because employers ignore safety guards, often to speed up production, and that’s exactly what happened in this case ... Employers must never put profits before people.”
The company has 15 business days to comply, request an informal conference with Martineck, or contest the findings.