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Lakewood Ice Cream Maker Fined $237K By Feds After 2nd Worker Loses Fingers

Ice cream
Ice cream Photo Credit: Pixabay

An ice cream manufacturer has been fined, again, after a worker lost his fingers in a Lakewood company machine, authorities said.

The mechanic apparently was repairing an ice cream wrapper when he was seriously injured. 

The mishap last September at Fieldbrook Foods' plant marked the second time since 2018 that a Lakewood worker lost fingers in the same machine, federal OSHA officials said on Monday.

“Fieldbrook Foods knew that machines must be completely disabled before workers perform service and maintenance," Paula Dixon-Roderick, area director of OSHA's Marlton office, said. "Instead of addressing the cited amputation hazards which led to two serious injuries, the company continues to expose its workers to dangerous machinery.”

Fieldbrook Foods is owned by Wells Enterprises Inc. in Le Mars, Iowa. The company makes frozen desserts under brands that include Blue Bunny, Blue Ribbon and Original Bomb Pop. About 200 people are employed at its Rutgers University Boulevard plant in Lakewood.

A proposed $237,176 in fines came after an OSHA inspection found six violations, according to a March 3 report by the agency.

The most serious: A mechanic had his fingers amputated while repairing an ice cream wrapper machine, OSHA said, alleging the company willfully ignored safety measures that could have prevented it.

The company failed to shut down and isolate electric power to the machine before the work was done, the agency said, exposing the employee to the moving part.

It wasn't the first serious violation at the Lakewood plant: A sanitation worker in 2018 lost one finger and fractured another when his fingers got caught in the same machine while he was repairing the jammed equipment, OSHA said.

Wells Enterprises, the nation's third-largest ice cream manufacturer, bought Fieldbrook Foods in April 2019.

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