Regulation & Safety

Wrigley fined $8,600 after worker’s death

25-Feb-2014
Last updated on 26-Feb-2014 at 09:20 GMT - By Oliver Nieburg+
Wrigley cited for safety violations leading to a fatal ladder fall at its Chattanooga, Tennessee plant
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Mars-owned Wrigley faces fines for safety violations that led to a worker’s death at its plant in Chattanooga.

A 34-year-old woman was killed last October when she fell from a ladder that was struck by a forklift truck.

On October 20 2013, the woman was observing a jam on the overhead conveyer in the Life Saver Gummie Department using a mobile ladder platform.

Another employee travelled through the warehouse on an industrial truck and ran into the ladder. The woman fell and sustained fatal injuries.

Aisles not barricaded during jams

“The accident was a result of the aisle not being barricaded in any way to bring attention to the powered industrial truck operators that employees were working in the aisle at elevated heights on mobile ladder platforms,” said the State of Tennessee, Department of Labor and Workforce Development in its citation and notification of penalty document.

“The employer failed to establish any procedure to be followed for the employees using the mobile ladder platforms in the aisle,” it said.

OSHA cited Wrigley for one serious violation for not having a procedure in place to barricade aisles when employees were using mobile ladder platforms. It also recommended citations for several other safety violations not related to the incident but found during a facility inspection. It proposed fines totalling $8,575.

Wrigley enacts safety procedures

Wrigley employees said later that the conveyer jammed on a daily basis and employees regularly used the mobile ladder to unblock the jam.

Wrigley has since instructed employees to place an expandable gate at the end of each aisle when unblocking a jam and to sound an air horn.

Denise Young, director of corporate Affairs, North America, for Wrigley said: "We mourn the loss of our associate and our thoughts continue to be with her family and friends. We have complied fully with TOSHA’s (Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration) citation and recommendations. No injury is acceptable, and creating a safe working environment for our associates is and always will be our first priority."

Related topics: Regulation & Safety, Mars, Candy