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A worker’s leg had to be amputated after he fell into an industrial blender, the labor department says

cansThe Zwanenberg Food Group factory in Cincinnati produces products including soups and stews.

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  • A worker in Ohio fell into an industrial blender and had to have his leg amputated, the DOL said.
  • Following an investigation, the OSHA proposed penalties of $1.9 million for Zwanenberg Food Group.
  • OSHA said cleaning staff weren’t trained on how to ensure equipment was isolated during maintenance.

A cleaner in Cincinnati had to have his leg amputated after he fell into an industrial blender at a food-processing plant, the US Department of Labor said.

The 29-year-old temporary worker suffered “critical injuries” after falling into a blender he was cleaning and getting caught in the rotating paddle augers during an overnight shift in October 2022 at Zwanenberg Food Group, the DOL said. He’d only worked at the company for nine months, the department said.

The DOL said staff weren’t trained to lock the equipment prior to cleaning so it didn’t move during maintenance.

The Cincinnati subsidiary of Zwanenberg, a Dutch company, produces food including luncheon meat, soups, and stews under brands such as Vietti and Southgate and employs about 175 people.

“This young man suffered a preventable debilitating injury because his employer failed to train him and the majority of its third-shift sanitation workers adequately to lockout equipment to ensure their own safety,” said Bill Donovan, regional administrator for the DOL’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration in Chicago, in a statement.

OSHA said it had cited Zwanenberg in 2017 and placed it in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program. The agency said it cited Zwanenberg again about two weeks before the accident, but that the company had contested the violations.

“This tragedy is compounded by the fact that OSHA cited Zwanenberg for similar violations two weeks prior, and they continued to ignore their responsibility to protect workers in their plant,” Donovan said.

An investigation by OSHA following October’s accident uncovered a number of serious violations, including 11 which it listed as willful. Cleaning staff weren’t given information about wearing appropriate eye protection and weren’t trained on how to ensure equipment was isolated, OSHA found.

The agency proposed $1.93 million in penalties for Zwanenberg. The US company and its Dutch parent company did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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