M&M’s maker fined after 2 factory workers fall into a chocolate tank and spark a rescue operation

February 13, 2023, 12:27 PM UTC
A packet of peanut M&M's seen almost completely buried in the candies.
M&M’s maker Mars Wrigley has been fined after two factory workers fell into a vat of Dove chocolate.
Joe Raedle—Getty Images

The maker of some of America’s best-loved candies has been fined thousands of dollars after two workers fell into a vat of chocolate at its factory in Elizabethtown, Pa.

In June 2022, first responders were called to the Mars Wrigley facility and found two workers trapped in a tank full of chocolate that had been destined to become Dove bars, local media reported at the time.

The two individuals involved in the accident—who were contractors employed by an external cleaning company—were rescued by fire crews, who had to cut a hole in the chocolate vat to help them escape.

Both were taken to the hospital, with one of the workers transported by helicopter, according to reports. It is unclear whether, or how badly, they were injured.

Following the incident, Mars Wrigley—whose confectionery products include M&M’s, Snickers bars, and Mars bars—found itself in hot water with the Labor Department.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued the conglomerate a fine of $14,502 over the accident.

The regulator said the company had committed a “serious” breach of workplace health and safety laws, saying the company had put employees at risk by failing to ensure workers who were hired to clean its tanks were correctly trained to do so in a safe way.

A spokesperson for Mars Wrigley said in a statement that the safety of its workforce, including outside contractors, was “a top priority.”

“We appreciate [the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s] collaborative approach to working with us to conduct the after-action review,” they said.

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