Candy concerns | Lack of health and safety lands Mars Wrigley in a sticky situation

Lack of health and safety lands Mars Wrigley in a sticky situation

Chocolate giant, The Mars Wrigley company, found itself in a sticky situation this week, following a peculiar incident at one of its sites.

The firm came under fire from US workplace safety regulators, following a 2022 incident at the corporation’s factory in Pennsylvania in which workers were put at risk by poor health and safety.

The event, which took place in June of 2022, resulted in several contract workers sustaining injuries after falling into a large vat of molten chocolate. To save the workers, a hole had to be forcibly created in the bottom of the vat to drain much of the tank’s contents.

Whilst falling into a vat of chocolate may seem like a sweet-toothed worker’s dream, the workers were seriously hurt, with one having to be airlifted to hospital via helicopter.

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Crucially for HR, Occupational Safety and Health Administration this week concluded that improper health and safety training was provided for the workers, which directly resulted in the incident.

Whilst a representative from Mars Wrigley welcomed the outcome, stating "the safety of our associates and outside contractors is a top priority for our business," the firm did receive a $14,500 fine and an order to improve safety measures.

"As always, we appreciate [the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's] collaborative approach to working with us to conduct the after-action review," the spokesperson concluded.

Health and safety – it’s important

The injuries of the workers serves as a solemn reminder that health and safety training, especially in complex and potentially deadly factory settings is absolutely crucial.

Employers have a duty of care to ensure that workers’ physical and mental wellbeing is secure within a workplace. In the US, this is covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) – which states that employers must maintain the minimum standards of the federal OSH Act.

In the case of Mars Wrigley, this duty of care was not met.

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