Miracapo Pizza Fined $2.8 Million for Temp Employee’s Death

June 28, 2023
OSHA finds the suburban Chicago frozen pizza manufacturer did not provide training nor authority to shut down a spiral conveyor.

Miracapo Pizza Co., a suburban Chicago frozen pizza manufacturer, has been fined more than $2.8 million by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for the December death of a temporary worker at its Gurnee, Ill., plant. And this makes two serious injuries in two months for the processor.

OSHA imposed the penalties in mid-June because the company did not give the woman proper training or authority, placing the company in its severe violator enforcement program, the agency said in its news release.

OSHA inspectors determined the woman — a temporary worker provided by Xcel Staffing Solutions in Waukegan, Ill. — was using compressed air to clean a spiral conveyer as it moved to cool pizza when her head became caught in the machinery.

She was not properly trained nor given the authority to stop equipment before cleaning, according to the news release. She died as a result of her injuries.

The tragedy occurred just weeks after a November 2022 incident at the same facility in which a worker performing maintenance on a sauce depositor suffered an amputation, which led OSHA to assess Miracapo $290,191 in proposed penalties. In October 2021, another employee suffered the amputation of a fingertip while trying to clear a jammed pizza conveyor.

The December incident led OSHA to cite Miracapo for 16 willful egregious violations, the agency's most severe; one willful violation; and 12 serious violations, including five serious instance-by-instance violations of two standards on different machines.

Miracapo, which also does business as Little Lady Foods, has until the end of this month to contest OSHA’s findings.

About the Author

Dave Fusaro | Editor in Chief

Dave Fusaro has served as editor in chief of Food Processing magazine since 2003. Dave has 30 years experience in food & beverage industry journalism and has won several national ASBPE writing awards for his Food Processing stories. Dave has been interviewed on CNN, quoted in national newspapers and he authored a 200-page market research report on the milk industry. Formerly an award-winning newspaper reporter who specialized in business writing, he holds a BA in journalism from Marquette University. Prior to joining Food Processing, Dave was Editor-In-Chief of Dairy Foods and was Managing Editor of Prepared Foods.

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