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Another worker loses part of finger at bakery firm cited for safety violations

September 26, 2010 |  7:48 pm

Another employee has lost part of a finger at Bimbo Bakeries, a company with plants statewide whose record of workplace accidents was highlighted by The Times last year as an example of inaction by California health and safety officials.

In addition, the company failed to disclose the 2007 amputation of a different worker's finger, officials at the Division of Occupational Health and Safety said last week.

That brings the company's total number of amputations to nine since 2003, when a worker lost most of her arm in a bread machine.

"I'm just flabbergasted," said Frances Schreiberg, a board member of Worksafe, a nonprofit that advocates for worker safety. "This company doesn't have a grip on how to implement an effective safety program."

Bimbo officials declined to comment.

In January, an employee at the Elk Grove plant, Antonio Guido, lost part of his finger in a tortilla machine that investigators later found did not have proper guards.

Inspectors cited "the willful failure of Bimbo Bakeries to guard the openings around … the tortilla production lines" and insufficient training of workers, among other things. The division recommended $123,000 more in fines, including more willful citations.

In an investigation last fall, The Times found that seven employees had lost parts of fingers or a limb in accidents at California plants over the last seven years. In six of those cases, investigators found that machines did not have proper guards to prevent employees from reaching in, officials said. But many of the penalties levied by the health and safety division, known as Cal/OSHA, were dismissed or reduced on technicalities by the agency's appeals board, so the company wasn't required to immediately fix the problems.

Read the full story here.

-- Jessica Garrison