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Repeated Amputations at Ice Cream Plant in New Jersey

OSHA says company 'continues to expose its workers to dangerous machinery.'

Back in 2018, a sanitation worker lost one finger and fractured another when his hand got caught in the crimping bar of a jammed ice cream wrapping machine at New Jersey-based Fieldbrook Foods Corporation.

It happened again this past September, when a maintenance mechanic lost two fingers while trying to repair the same machine.

OSHA reported March 15 that when it investigated in September, it found that Fieldbrook willfully failed to shut down and isolate energy to the machine during repair work at its Lockwood, New Jersey plant, which employs about 200 workers. For the repeated lockout/tagout violation, OSHA has proposed $237,000 in penalties.

Commenting on the matter, OSHA’s area director said, “Fieldbrook Foods knew that machines must be completely disabled before workers perform service and maintenance. Instead of addressing the cited amputation hazards which led to two serious injuries, the company continues to expose its workers to dangerous machinery.”

In the 2018 incident, Fieldbrook — operating the factory as Mr. Cookie Face — was fined $168,000, with one of the plant’s primary failures being a lack of a safe procedure to clear chocolate and nuts from the machine.

Fairbrook Foods is owned by Wells Enterprises, which makes and sells frozen desserts under the Blue Bunny, Blue Ribbon, Original Bomb Pop and other brands. Wells is the largest privately-held, family-owned ice cream manufacturer in the US, producing more than 150 millions of ice cream per year and distributing products in all 50 states.

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