Worker Dies In Blender, OSHA To Investigate

Kim LaCapria - Author

Aug. 23 2017, Updated 1:55 a.m. ET

Last week, a worker died in a blender at a meat-processing plant near Clackamas, Oregon, and OSHA says it is currently investigating the circumstances under which the 41-year-old man was killed.

The worker who died in the blender at Interstate Meat Distributors Friday night was identified as Hugo Avalos-Chanon, a contractor with a cleaning company. Avalos-Chanon was declared dead just before midnight Friday, but news of his death was not widely reported until this week.

The worker killed in the blender lived in Southeast Portland and worked for DCS Sanitation Management Inc., a company that contracts to clean the equipment at Interstate Meat Distributors.

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Local news sources have referred to the company on whose premises the worker killed in the blender was found dead as a “meat-processing plant with a troubled history,” and the company was cited as recently as October by Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Division when an inspector referenced a potential “unexpected start-up of the [blender] machine” due to the fact it was improperly secured for cleaning.

Oregon OSHA spokeswoman Melanie Mesaros says that the October citation may be unrelated to the worker’s death in the blender machine, noting that often, such investigations take time:

“It’s way too early to say … We’re just starting our investigation, which could take six months.”

Of the worker’s death and subsequent investigation, the meat processing facility’s president Darrin Hoy said:

“We’re not looking forward to reliving through any of it again.”

Prior to the worker’s death in the blender, Interstate had been involved in two high-profile incidents in the 2000s — one in which the company sparked an E. coli recall, and another where the plant unwittingly distributed beef from a cow that was infected with mad cow disease.

The day after the worker died in the blender, his body was removed from the machinery. The plant remains open following the tragedy.


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