Clackamas

Meat blender death not the first accident at packaging company

Meat blender death not the first accident at packaging company »Play Video
KATU photo.

CLACKAMAS, Ore. - A company where a man fell into a large meat blender and died has a history of safety violations, including an accident where a worker lost a finger.

Over the weekend, a contract employee was killed while cleaning equipment at Interstate Meat Distributors, a meat packaging plant at 9550 S.E. Last Road in Clackamas.

According to the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, 41-year-old Hugo Avalos Chanon of Portland fell into a large blender while it was running. Another worker hit an emergency switch to stop the blender, but Chanon was already dead by that point.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is looking into what happened. Melanie Mesaros, Oregon OSHA spokeswoman, said the investigation could take up to six months.

Meanwhile, we're learning more about Interstate Meat Distributors, which has had several safety violations in the past:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • OSHA also found that safety committee members did not have proper training.
  • Read the full report (pdf)

Correction: According to OSHA, the machine was a blender, not a grinder as originally reported.