Employee Dies in Meat Grinder Incident, and Company Fined $50,000

OSHA fines Lycoming County meat processing business after an employee died on site.

Economy Storage Locker Co. Inc. is being fined $49,062 in civil penalties for violations after an employee died after falling or being pulled into a commercial meat grinder. Penalties were assessed by OSHA after the April 22 incident, according to a Pennsylvania Real-Time News article.

Employee Jill Greninger died during the incident. The company not only lost an employee, but OSHA’s inspection and investigation found 11 serious violations, the agency said.

No one saw Greninger, who was standing on stairs, go into the machine. A co-worker turned off the machine after hearing an unusual sound. Greninger was killed instantly.

The machine lid had a 10-by-24-inch opening that exposed employees to hazards, states the report. Operating the mixer/grinder with the lid open exposes the operator to rotating mixer paddles, which was among the violations OSHA said it found. Other violations that OSHA found that go beyond the incident and discovered at later dates include:

  • The rotating mixer blade on a steam kettle in the scrapple kitchen was unguarded.
  • The rotating blade on the emulsifier in the mixer/grinder room was unguarded, exposing employees to the possibility of being caught in and struck by it.
  • The employer did not identify hazards that would require use of personal protective equipment.
  • Employees in the smokehouse room were not provided with or required to wear appropriate eye and face protection when dispensing corrosive sanitizing chemicals. An eyewash station was also not provided.
  • Operators of a forklift were not provided training and evaluated on their skill to operate the equipment.
  • Missing breakers in several panel boxes in one room and an open 220-volt fuse box in another exposed employees to an electric shock hazard.
  • The employer did not have or implement a written hazard communications program for employees exposed to chemicals.

Employees did not receive effective training on the use of various chemical products.

If Economy Locker wants to challenge the citations, it can participate in an appeals process.

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