Fatal Meat Grinder Accident
May 9, 2019
On April 22, a Pennsylvania processing plant worker lost her life after she fell in an industrial meat grinder. The 35-year old woman was either pulled into the machine or fell in when she was on a staircase alongside it. Although no one saw it happen, it occurred in the late morning and was described as being a “horrible accident” by local reporters.
The grinder sat six feet from the ground and was disassembled afterwards by emergency medical and fire responders. The case is being investigated by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials. OSHA records show meat grinder accidents in recent years that resulted in amputations, employees getting caught in machines, fractures, and other injuries.
Other Machinery Accidents
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has other data on machinery fatalities caused by workers getting caught. More common were those caused by forklifts, material-handling equipment, woodworking and metal machines, presses, chippers, and debarkers. Non-fatal injuries include sprains, fractures, bruises, lacerations, and amputations.
They also looked at industries that were more likely to have machinery-related accidents. These included jobs in manufacturing and agriculture. Industrial Equipment News also reported that industrial machinery workers experience 18,000 traumatic injuries every year.
The Cost of Workplace Injuries
The monetary costs from these accidents can be crippling to a company; Liberty Mutual reported that $48.6 billion was spent annually by U.S. companies to cover production and wage losses, administrative costs, and medical expenses for injured employees. A Colorado State University study showed that workplace injury direct and indirect costs amounted to around $128 billion.
Indirect costs include things like the cost of hiring and training new employees, machine downtime, OSHA fines, insurance costs, and legal fees. Company reputations can also be damaged when a high-profile accident occurs; this can lead to decreased business and fewer employees wanting to work there.
Injuries, fatalities, and lost profits are plenty of reasons for companies to stress safety for employees working around or with industrial machinery. This begins with proper training. Untrained employees should not be permitted near these machines. The use of physical barriers (called barrier guards) is beneficial, as they prevent people from accessing the machine’s moving parts. There are also devices that will stop the machines if a body part goes near a dangerous area. Many machines also require the worker to use both hands when operating the controls.
Servicing these machines can also present hazards, especially if the barrier guards are removed. They can be dangerous even if their power is turned off, as there can be residual energy. This is where the lockout/tagout process is useful; this involves turning off the power source. Some employees may even try to unjam a machine when the power is on, which can lead to disaster.
Other ways of preventing these accidents are to never wear jewelry or loose clothing around the machines, keep loose hair out of the way, and never reach across or step across machinery while it is operating.
Workplace Accident Lawyers in Philadelphia You Can Trust for Effective Legal Representation
If you need sound legal advice for a work-related injury, contact a respected workplace accident lawyer in Philadelphia at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. for a free case evaluation. Call 888-PITT-LAW today or contact us online.
We assist injured workers in Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County and throughout Pennsylvania, including those in Abington, Ambler, Ardmore, Bala Cynwyd, Bensalem, Clifton Heights, Crum Lynne, Darby, Downingtown, Doylestown, Drexel Hill, Essington, Folcroft, Glenolden, Haverford, Havertown, Holmes, Kutztown, Lansdowne, Media, Merion Station, Morton, Narberth, Norristown, Norwood, Philadelphia, Prospect Park, Quakertown, Reading, Roxborough, Sharon Hill, Upper Darby, West Chester, and Wynnewood.