The Maker of M&M's Fined $14,500 After Workers Fall Into a Vat of Chocolate

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration called the incident "serious."

Chocolate swirl

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Mars Wrigley, the candy company behind brands like M&M's and Snickers, is facing a $14,500 fine after two workers fell into a tank of chocolate at its Pennsylvania factory.

The incident, which took place in 2021, involved two contract workers who the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said were not adequately trained to operate the equipment, which included a partially filled vat of chocolate. 

According to CNN, the two men fell in, forcing firefighters to cut a hole in the side of the vat to rescue the pair. One worker was transported to the hospital via ground transport, however, the other was in more serious condition and had to be transported via helicopter. 

The multi-billion-dollar candy company is no stranger to incidents with contract workers either. In 2016, Tennessee's OSHA branch investigated the death of a contract worker at the M&M Mars candy plant. Anthony Guerrieri, a spokesperson for Mars at the time, shared with reporters, "We are deeply saddened that an individual working onsite at our Cleveland plant passed away late Thursday afternoon…We are working with the individual's employer, Custom Mechanical Contractors, as well as the proper authorities to investigate the cause of death and do not have further details to share at this time."

Though no one was injured, during COVID-19, Mars Wrigley warehouse workers in the town of Joliet, a suburb of Chicago, protested over safety concerns, which they claimed were faced with retaliation,The Chicago Sun-Times reported. At the time, employees signed a petition requesting hazard pay, quarantine pay, and personal protective equipment. However, according to several who signed the petition, they were fired or placed on "do not return" lists for the subcontracting agencies they worked with. 

Following this latest incident, a Mars Wrigley representative shared with the Associated Press that the safety of workers is a top priority for the business, adding, "As always, we appreciate OSHA's collaborative approach to working with us to conduct the after-action review." 

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