CHICAGO – A 48-year-old worker for Tootsie Roll Industries LLC suffered a partial finger amputation after their employer allowed bypassed safety locks on a machine’s access doors that enabled a bag sealer to close on an employee’s finger.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspection of the April 19, 2021, incident found that the worker reached into an unguarded machine to remove stuck paper debris when the bag seal’s jaws closed.

OSHA issued one willful violation for inadequate machine guarding and proposed $136,532 in penalties.

“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,” said OSHA Chicago South Area Director James Martineck in Tinley Park. “Employers must never put profits before people. When they do and fail to meet their obligations to keep workers safe, we will take action to hold them accountable.”

The company 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.

Learn more about OSHA.

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