A Hershey's packing plant was fined $283,000 for health and safety
violations due to unreportedworkplace injuries. The Pennsylvania plant was the subject of an ongoing investigation that
lasted nearly six months, according to investigators.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration revealed that Exel --
the company that was hired to run the plant -- failed to report 42 instances
of individuals being seriously injured at work. These 42 injuries accounted
for 43 percent of all injuries that occurred within that timeframe at
OSHA commenced the investigation after receiving hundreds of protests from
foreign students who were hired to work at the Hershey's packing plant
during the busy holiday season.
All of the injuries required medical treatment, and many were related to
lifting and moving heavy boxes of chocolates. Students complained of back
problems, neck pains, and arm injuries from lifting boxes weighing up
to 60 pounds each.
In addition, OSHA labor officials found written evidence in the form of
emails from Exel managers. In the messages, members of management acknowledged
the hazardous conditions in the packing plant yet decided not to implement
any changes to protect workers from injury.
Workers' compensation benefits are available to employees who are injured
because of tasks completed on the job. These benefits may include monetary
compensation not only for medical bills but also for lost wages while
an employee recovers from injuries.
In the case of the Hershey's plant, the injured workers may well seek
compensation for damages caused by the negligence of the Exel managers.
Hershey's may also be liable.
Source: New York Times, "Hershey's Packer is Fined Over Its Safety Violations," Julia Preston, Feb. 21, 2012