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Published: Thursday, 1/12/2006

Safety agency tells area firm to pay $60,000

McCOMB, Ohio - Federal safety regulators have levied $60,000 in fines against Consolidated Biscuit Co. after an employee lost part of a finger on a bakery machine at the firm's plant in this Hancock County community.

Company representatives and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials met yesterday to discuss the citation and fines. The firm has until Jan. 24 to contest the findings.

The federal agency filed two complaints against the cookie and cracker company, one serious and one willful. Regulators conducted an inspection after an accident Oct. 18.

The citation for the serious violation had a penalty of $5,000. The willful violation, the most serious charge leveled by OSHA, had a penalty of $55,000. The latter stems from the company's inadequate repairs to the machine after the injury, said Dick Tracy, assistant area OSHA director.

The accident was reported to the agency by an employee on Nov. 8, he said. Companies are required to immediately notify the agency only if someone dies in a workplace accident or if three or more workers are hospitalized, he said.

The McComb factory has had past safety problems, according to OSHA's Web site, which lists 24 violations since 1999, including 13 classified as serious. The company paid nearly $46,000 in fines for violations for that period.

Officials for the plant, about 45 miles south of Toledo, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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