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Grocery chain cited after conveyor belt injury


A New York supermarket chain is facing $140,000 in proposed fines from federal safety and health regulators after an employee cleaning a machine sustained broken bones in her hand and arm.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Rochester, New York-based Wegmans Food Market Inc. after the employee at a Rochester commercial bakery suffered the injury while cleaning an operating conveyor belt and roller in December 2015, when her hand got caught between the belt and the roller and the machine pulled it in, according to an agency news release issued on Monday.

Bakery employees cleaned the conveyor belt and roller routinely without turning it off and locking out its power source in violation of the agency's hazardous energy control standard, and the company failed to train employees how to turn off and lock out the machine, according to OSHA.

The agency cited the bakery for similar hazards in October 2011 and September 2015 and issued two repeat citations for the latest incident.

“These hazards and the injury that resulted were preventable,” Michael Scime, OSHA's area director in Buffalo, New York, said in a statement. “They also reflect an unfortunate and needless pattern. OSHA has repeatedly cited the bakery for similar lockout and training hazards over the past five years, including incidents in 2015 in which one employee sustained a finger injury and another suffered a first-degree burn. Wegmans must take effective and ongoing action to ensure that its bakery employees are properly trained and safeguarded so that incidents and injuries such as these do not happen again.”

“Even one injury to an employee is one too many,” the company said in a statement. “We care about our employees and want them to be safe. Maintaining a safe workplace and creating a culture of safety everywhere is one of our top priorities. The current rate of workplace accidents at Wegmans is the lowest in our history.”

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