Contract sanitation worker killed cleaning meat blending equipment

Oregon Case Report:13OR008
Release Date: December 2014

The following report is the product of our Cooperative State partner and is presented here in its original unedited form from the state. The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the individual Cooperative State partner and do not necessarily reflect the views or policy of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.


On April 2013, a 41-year old sanitation worker was killed when he fell into an industrial meat blender (see Figure 1). The worker was a member of a contract cleaning crew for a meat processing facility. On the day of the incident he reported to work and began routine cleaning and sanitation. Cleaning procedures began with a hot water wash of the rotating blades and mechanical parts to remove residual meat product. The hoses used in rinsing were long, and it was a common practice for workers to wrap the excess hose around their bodies (torso and/or legs). The incident was not witnessed, but based on the cleaning process used by the worker and described by other employees, it is believed either the hose used to wash down the operating equipment fell into the hopper and the worker was pulled in while entangled in the hose or that he lost his footing on the slippery platform and fell into the blender vat. The worker’s supervisor who was familiar with the sounds of the machinery, investigated the source of an unusual sound and discovered a severed hose. He then climbed the stairway onto the elevated platform above the blender and saw the worker and additional hose entangled in the blades in the blender vat. The supervisor summoned help and emergency responders were called. The worker was pronounced dead at the scene.

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Page last reviewed: November 18, 2015