Workers Reaching Into Live Machines at Pepsi Bottling Plant

Employees were reaching into the machine up to 15 times per hour.

Pepsi Guam Bottling was the recent target of an OSHA investigation that found disabled machine guard doors and a deactivated proximity switch on a bottle-labeling machine. OSHA investigators found employees reaching into the machine up to 15 times per hour to grab and fix labels and adjust tipping bottles.

Defeating the safety devices helped workers avoid production slowdowns and stoppages, but it also posed a severe amputation risk. OSHA says the company failed to protect employees from rotating parts, ingoing nip points and burn hazards. As a result, the agency proposed nearly $181,000 in fines. 

Investigators opened the inspection in October 2022 and found one repeat violation and six serious violations, among others.

OSHA Regional Administrator James Wulff in San Francisco said, "Pepsi Guam Bottling showed a willingness to put profit before the safety of its employees ... Industrial machinery is unforgiving and can cause sudden, severe and disabling injuries or worse when machine guards are bypassed." 

OSHA also found a missing chuck guard on a drill press and exposed sprocket wheels and chains on a packer machine. In addition, unused openings were seen in live electrical boxes, and junction box covers were missing. Investigators also found a damaged racking system holding bottled water pallets, exposing workers to struck-by and crush-by hazards.

According to the company's website, Pepsi Guam Bottling has been in operation since 1968. The company bottles A&W, Chamorro Punch, Dr. Pepper and several other popular brands.

The company says excellence in food safety and quality will drive it to be the best beverage company in the region. Needs improvement.

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