Logo for Dept of industrial relations California state seal.
Release Number: 2019-36
April 16, 2019

Cal/OSHA Cites Los Angeles Food Manufacturer and Staffing Agency for Serious Accident that Caused Amputation of Worker’s Fingers

Santa Ana—Cal/OSHA has issued more than $300,000 in serious citations to two employers after a temporary worker lost two fingers cleaning machinery at a food manufacturing facility in Los Angeles.

On October 2, 2018, the employee for Priority Workforce, Inc. was assigned to JSL Foods, Inc., a maker and distributer of noodles, pasta and baked goods. The worker was cleaning a dough rolling machine when his left hand was partially pulled into the moving rollers and two of his fingers were amputated.

Cal/OSHA’s investigation found the machine had not been adequately guarded to prevent fingers from entering pinch points, or de-energized and locked out to prevent movement while the worker was cleaning it. Neither employer had trained the worker to follow lockout/tagout procedures before cleaning the equipment. Lockout involves isolating a machine from its power source and using a device to prevent machinery from being restarted, while a tagout device on a machine shows it is prohibited to operate.

“Lockout/tagout procedures are required to protect employees who maintain powered equipment with moveable parts,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “Employers must ensure the procedures are in place and are followed.”

Cal/OSHA cited JSL Foods Inc. $276,435 in proposed penalties for seven violations, including one willful repeat serious violation and one willful repeat serious accident-related violation for failing to follow lockout/tagout procedures. JSL Foods, Inc. was cited twice in 2015 for the same violations.

Cal/OSHA also cited Tustin-based Priority Workforce Inc. $29,250 in proposed penalties for three serious violations for failure to establish, implement, and maintain an effective Injury and Illness Prevention Program, failure to ensure employees were effectively trained, and failure to ensure the machinery was adequately guarded.

Cal/OSHA offers an eTool to help employers understand lockout/tagout requirements and how to develop effective safety procedures.

A serious violation is cited when there is a realistic possibility that death or serious harm could result from the actual hazardous condition. Violations are classified as accident-related when the injury, illness or fatality is caused by the violation. A willful violation is cited when the employer is aware of the law and violates it nevertheless, or when the employer is aware of the hazardous condition and takes no reasonable steps to address it.

Cal/OSHA helps protect workers from health and safety hazards on the job in almost every workplace in California. Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Services Branch provides free and voluntary assistance to employers to improve their health and safety programs. Employers should call (800) 963-9424 for assistance from Cal/OSHA Consultation Services.

Employees with work-related questions or complaints may contact DIR’s Call Center in English or Spanish at 844-LABOR-DIR (844-522-6734). The California Workers’ Information line at 866-924-9757 provides recorded information in English and Spanish on a variety of work-related topics. Complaints can also be filed confidentially with Cal/OSHA district offices.

Members of the press may contact Peter Melton or Luke Brown at (510) 286-1161, and are encouraged to subscribe to get email alerts on DIR’s press releases or other departmental updates.