A Machine Operator in a Food Processing Plant Dies When Trapped Inside a Steam Pressure Cooker
California Case Report: 12CA012
A machine operator in a food processing plant died from thermal burns after being trapped inside a large steam pressure cooker. The victim was not visible at his assigned work area so another worker completed his task of moving crates of canned fish into the pressure cooker. The inlet to the pressure cooker was closed, sealed, and then activated by a third worker. When co-workers realized they did not know where the victim was, they began to search for him. After the pressure cooker was turned off and the outlet was opened, the victim was discovered dead inside. The CA/FACE investigator determined that, in order to prevent future incidents, food processing companies should ensure that:
- Periodic safety audits and inspections are conducted and documented to identify all hazardous work areas.
- Employees working in or around confined spaces are properly trained and the training is documented.