NJ ice cream maker faces $237K fine after workers lose fingers

A New Jersey ice cream manufacturer faces more than $237,000 in fines after two of its workers lost a total of three fingers while repairing the same machine, according to reports.

A technician at Fieldbrook Foods Corp. in Lakewood lost two fingers while repairing the ice cream wrapper machine in September 2020, reported.

Two years earlier, a sanitation worker lost one finger and fractured another when his hand got caught as he tried to fix the jammed machine, the news outlet reported, citing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The company, which employs about 200 people, “violated safety standards for preventing accidental machine startup,” OSHA said Monday.

It “willfully failed to shut down and isolate energy to the machine during repair work,” the agency said in a statement, adding that it has proposed $237,176 in penalties.

“Fieldbrook Foods knew that machines must be completely disabled before workers perform service and maintenance,” OSHA Area Director Paula Dixon-Roderick said.

“Instead of addressing the cited amputation hazards which led to two serious injuries, the company continues to expose its workers to dangerous machinery,” she added.

Fieldbrook Foods is owned by Wells Enterprises Inc. in Le Mars, Iowa, which makes desserts under brands that include Blue Bunny, Blue Ribbon and Original Bomb Pop.

The penalties came after OSHA found six violations at the facility, according to the Asbury Park Press.

The news outlet said its message seeking comment from Wells Enterprises — the nation’s third-largest ice cream manufacturer, producing more than 150 million gallons a year — wasn’t immediately returned.

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