Amputation Leads to Nearly $2M in Penalties

While working the overnight sanitation shift at an Ohio food processing plant, a 29-year-old temporary worker – on the job just nine months – suffered critical injuries after falling into an industrial blender he was cleaning and became caught in the rotating paddle augers. The worker’s injuries led to a leg amputation.

Responding to the employer’s report of the Oct. 12, 2022, injury, OSHA investigators determined the host employer, Zwanenberg Food Group USA Inc., did not train sanitation workers to lockout the equipment prior to cleaning, exposing them to moving machine parts. OSHA cited the plant for similar violations less than two weeks before the injury.

OSHA proposed $1.9 million in penalties after citing 11 willful, four serious, one repeat and one other-than-serious violations, most involving required machine safety procedures that isolate energy to prevent movement during cleaning and maintenance. The agency placed Zwanenberg in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program in 2017.

The agency also found Zwanenberg failed to verify changes to the lockout/tagout procedures, retrain workers when changes occurred, periodically test the procedures and correct deviations. Trip hazards, electrical safe work procedures, lack of eye protection and personal protective equipment assessments were also noted.

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