An investigation by Oregon OSHA uncovered a pattern of serious injuries related to machine safety at Portland Specialty Baking LLC, with reports of several employees suffering hand injuries from a dough chunker machine and a bagel dough divider.
The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) has fined Portland Specialty Baking LLC $28,125 for a grouped willful violation after a worker’s hand was crushed in a dough chunker machine. Although treated as a single violation for penalty purposes, a grouped violation indicates that the employer conduct being cited violates more than one code.
The worker was operating a machine that cuts dough into smaller pieces when the accident occurred. When dough became jammed in the machine, the worker placed a piece of dough over the sensor, lifted the machine guard, and reached into the running machine.
The Oregon OSHA investigation started with an inspection on Oct. 7, 2014, at the Portland commercial bakery, which found the bakery had a history of similar injuries. On July 3, 2014, a worker received a serious laceration to his middle finger (and lost a fingernail) when he reached into the bagel dough divider to remove dough trimmings. On July 16, 2014, another employee suffered lacerations and a fractured hand after reaching into the same machine to remove trimmings. In 2008, an employee also suffered a crushed hand when reaching into the dough chunker machine.
“Despite the pattern of injuries, this employer continued to ignore the rules that could prevent them, with what certainly was a careless disregard for worker safety,” said Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood. “It might even be described as reckless.”
Oregon OSHA cited the bakery for not providing adequate training to workers, many of whom were not native English speakers. Employee interviews revealed workers did not understand how to safely operate the machinery and were bypassing machine guarding. A willful violation exists when an employer intentionally or knowingly allows a violation to occur.
The company has 30 days to appeal the citation.