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Worker death results in $2.8M in proposed fines against pizza maker


An Illinois specialty frozen pizza manufacturer has been issued $2.8 million in proposed fines by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration after a worker died while cleaning company machinery.

OSHA on Thursday announced it cited Gurnee-based Miracapo Pizza Co. for 16 willful egregious violations, one willful violation and 12 serious violations after a temporary worker died during a December overnight shift.

The worker was cleaning a spiral conveyer used to cool pizza when her head became caught in the machinery.

The company was cited for failing to train temporary workers on how to stop equipment from moving before conducting cleaning operations.

The company said in a statement that it was saddened by the death of the worker, who it noted was employed by an external staffing agency.

“While we disagree with OSHA’s findings released today, we remain committed to working with the agency to arrive at the best possible outcome for all,” the statement read. “We are proud of our safety record. Safety has always been and will continue to be a core value for our Company.”

The citation came a month after another worker performing maintenance on a sauce depositor at the same facility suffered an amputation, which led to $290,191 in separate proposed fines. Another employee suffered a partial finger amputation in October 2021.

OSHA said the company failed to institute proper lockout/tagout procedures designed to isolate energy during equipment servicing, failed to install adequate machine guards, exposed workers to the risk of electrocution and other violations.

Separately, OSHA issued a citation for two willful and two serious violations against GDI Services Inc., a contractor who provides sanitation services to Miracapo Pizza. Among other things, OSHA said GDI failed to train workers on safety procedures in a language they understand.