Mars fined thousands after accident at chocolate factory

Mars fined thousands after accident at chocolate factory
Workers rescued from chocolate tank at M&M's factory in Pennsylvania

The company behind M&M's, Snickers and other sweets has been fined after two workers had to be rescued when they fell into one of it's chocolate vats (no, it's not a sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).

Federal workplace safety authorities fined Mars Wrigley more than $14,500 as the manufacturer had committed a “serious” breach of workplace health and safety laws, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

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After falling into the chocolate while carrying out maintenance work, emergency services were called back in June 2022 to the confectionary factory in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania as the pair were waist-high in chocolate and stuck inside the batching tank which mixed ingredients to create Dove chocolate (sold as Galaxy in the UK).

In the end, emergency responders managed to cut a hole in the bottom of the tank, officials said, and both required hospital treatment - with one taken by helicopter.

It remains unclear how the two workers - who were employed by an outside contracting firm - fell into the tank and the extent of their injuries.

A OSHA report concerning the situation detailed how it was a "serious" incident where the workers had been hired to clean the tanks and believed there wasn't enough safety training given to them.

“Their employer did not furnish employment and a place of employment which were free from recognised hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees," the report read.

“The employer did not ensure that the employee had the knowledge of the type and magnitude of the energy for the task."

“The host employer did not provide the outside employer with the correct energy control procedure or work authorisation permit," OSHA added.

A Mars Wrigley spokesperson told Associated Press last week that the safety of their associates and outside contractors is "a top priority for our business."

“As always, we appreciate [the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s] collaborative approach to working with us to conduct the after-action review.”

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