Worker Dies in Blender at Oregon Meat Plant

 May 1, 2013 

An Oregon cleaning worker was killed when he fell into a running blender at a meat-processing plant, the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office said.

Deputy Nate Thompson identified the worker as Hugo Avalos-Chanon, 41, of Portland. He worked for DCS Sanitation Management, a cleaning company that has a contract with Interstate Meat Distributors.

Paramedics and sheriff's deputies were called after Avalos-Chanon was found entangled in the machinery. Another worker had hit an emergency stop button, but it was too late, Thompson said. Firefighters returned the following day to dismantle the machine and remove the body.

Dr. Cliff Young, a deputy state medical examiner, said Avalos-Chanon died from "blunt-force injuries and chopping wounds."

Investigators with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are examining evidence, interviewing witnesses and reviewing records.

The plant had received "serious" violations a few months ago for lax safety precautions regarding some equipment:

  1. In November of 2005, a cleaning crew employee lost a finger in a ribbon blender while cleaning the machine. OSHA cited the company following what happened.
  2. In February of this year, a drill press was not anchored properly to make sure it did not move during operation and possibly hurt someone.
  3. OSHA's most recent inspection outlined a number of other serious violations, including a 10-inch table saw that did not have a hood covering the blade, a metal lathe and rotating chuck with no guards and a fire hazard created from a routine of refilling propane cylinders.
  4. There was also a serious violation involving cleaning the equipment in the most recent report. OSHA found that three machines were not locked out during the tear down process, which could have led to an unexpected startup and possible serious injuries.
  5. OSHA also found that safety committee members did not have proper training.

Read the full report (pdf)