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Mars Wrigley Fined $14,500 After Two Workers Fell in Chocolate Vat Last Year

Mars Wrigley Fined $14,500 After Two Workers Fell in Chocolate Vat Last Year

Time to pop in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined Mars Wrigley $14,500 over a June accident where two people fell into a chocolate vat at a Mars M&M factory in Elizabethtown, PA.

OSHA said the workers did not have the training to work in the tanks:

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Mars Wrigley in the June accident at the Elizabethtown M&M/Mars factory, saying the workers were not authorized to work in the tanks and weren’t trained on the proper safety procedures for the equipment.

Officials said two workers employed by an outside contracting firm fell into the partially filled chocolate tank while doing maintenance work. Emergency responders were able to free the pair by cutting a hole in the bottom of the tank, officials said. Both were taken to hospitals, one by helicopter.

A company representative told reporters last week that the safety of workers and outside contractors “is a top priority for our business.”

“As always, we appreciate OSHA’s collaborative approach to working with us to conduct the after-action review,“ the representative said.

The two workers fell into the tank, which was half-full of chocolate, last June. The factory had to call emergency responders to retrieve the two men.

The responders cut “a hole in the bottom of the tank.”

Now I want to watch Charlie and the Chocolate factory. Yes, I prefer that over Willy Wonka. It’s truer to the book, which is dark and weird. Willy Wonka is an awkward creep. Gene Wilder made him too likable.


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Dolce Far Niente | February 13, 2023 at 8:21 pm

Several things don’t make sense about this story, mostly the ridiculous way they made the rescue. Cutting a hole in the bottom of the tank?

Having worked in food manufacturing for many years, there are always pieces of safety equipment that are used to lift injured or unconscious workers out of enclosed spaces. If nothing else, an awake manager could have used a hi-lift forklift or manlift (of which there were undoubtedly at least one or more available) to rescue these men.

The idea that they thought it was a best to leave workers in a hazardous situation until someone could use a cutting torch on the bottom of the tank just amazes me.

Having said that, stupid careless people will always find ways to kill themselves in an industrial environment.

    After they pull them out I wonder if they’ll roll them in some nuts?

    I had an assignment with Nabisco in their candy products division about 40 years ago when someone in the Chicago plant fell into the machine that grinds up the cocoa beans. I never learned the details but if he fell in and got ground up, it must have been running at the time. You would think the danger would be enough to make people be careful (like turn it off first e.g.) but… I swear there are people out there who trip over the paint while crossing the street.

    broomhandle in reply to Dolce Far Niente. | February 14, 2023 at 11:07 am

    Well, perhaps rescuers decided the men could be rescued with less body movement by making an exit in the bottom. That way they can be secured safely before a short transport. And the top of the tank could be a narrow opening requiring more maneuvering to get them out.

    But how big/deep are these tanks? Did they fall far or just hit their heads on the way down?

The Smothers Brothers had a song about falling in a vat of chocolate.

Dick Smothers said, “I yelled Fire! when I fell into the Chocolate because I didn’t think anyone would save me if I yelled Chocolate!”

So.. they hired an outside contractor to clean the tanks. The workers didn’t actually work for Mars Wrigley and there’s no mention of the company they worked for being fined.

    henrybowman in reply to Sanddog. | February 13, 2023 at 9:58 pm

    Didn’t say they hired the workers to do anything involving the tanks, they were doing “maintenance work” and I guess they weren’t “cleared for the tank room.”

      Sanddog in reply to henrybowman. | February 14, 2023 at 2:01 pm

      They contracted with I.K. Stoltzfus Service Corp for tank cleaning. The company specializes in doing just that. The workers didn’t work for Mars or work under their direction.

Wasn’t this a scene from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory?

There’s nothing about the people dying or even being hurt ( depends on the temperature of the chocolate I guess), but if I have to die that’s the way to go.

NorthernNewYorker | February 13, 2023 at 9:24 pm

“Co-workers jumped in to save them, but the two fought the off bravely.”
Old brewery joke.

    And there was Brown, upside down
    Lickin’ up the whiskey off the floor
    “Booze! Booze!” the firemen cried
    As they came knockin’ at the door
    “Don’t let them in till it’s all drunk up”
    Somebody shouted “MacIntyre” (MacIntyre!)
    And we all got blue blind paralytic drunk
    When the Old Dun Cow caught fire

Rescue workers let them harden then bit their ears off …

Before taking them to the hospital, employees wrapped them in a tinfoil twist with a paper pull to assist unwrapping …

They probably didn’t want to come out. Every kids dream is to fall into a vat of chocolate and eat their way out.

Reminds me of the “Crunchy Frog” sketch by Monty Python.

All I can say is thank god this didn’t happen in Gotham City. Last thing we need is TWO new evil twisted despots at the same time!! 😁

Send Mayor Pete in to investigate. Close the lid.

Russ from Winterset | February 14, 2023 at 8:55 am

Boy, I cannot wait until the Oompa Loompas from OSHA hold the press conference about this accident.

“Oompa Loompa doopitey doo
Here’s what happened, we’ll tell it to you.

Oompa Loompa doopitey dat
Subcontractors screwed up, then they went SPLAT!”

The rescue was all wrong. They should have continued filling the tank and effected the workers’ freedom by means of a chocolate float.

Did the two workers get to roll in rainbow sprinkles afterwards?

Train them in common sense.

I guess the workers should have taken the Smothers Brothers advice and yelled FIRE when they fell into the chocolate.

So a lot of plants will have temp workers as a cheaper source of labour but they basically hold down a full time job at the plant. Contracts keep getting renewed until a position opens up and they hope to get converted to a permanent employee. Some temps at a plant I worked went there for 5 years as the only place they reported for work

My guess is these guys were closer to full time staffers and less a bunch of random people from an outside vendor. Especially on maintenance. Maintenance can hurt themselves or equipment easily so as a plant you are pucker about them.

Being immersed in chocolate would cause a lot of burns. Chocolate is dense. Very surprised the fine is so low. The guys who fell in would have incurred way more in medical expenses. Surprised they were able to be in that area doing that work without the right training or restraint system and that it was two guys who fell in instead of one.

I’d bet there are some internal people at that ant who have a lot of questions to answer for.

Augustus Gloop! ‘Youll boil him i just know it’

So were these workers women? Is that why they had to start making female M&Ms? Or at least separating the female M&Ms from the male M&Ms?

They should be allowed to deduct the cost of the chocolate the workers ate while in the vat.

The Smother’s brothers had a bit where Tommy said he fell into a vat of chocolate. When asked what he did, Tommy said he yelled, “Fire”.
“Why did you yell ‘Fire’?”.
“Because no one would help me if I yelled, ‘Chocolate'”