Hugo Avalos-Chanon, DCS Sanitation Management Worker Killed In Meat Blender In Oregon, Suffered 'Blunt-Force Injuries And Chopping Wounds'

By Anna Dinger | May 01, 2013 10:17 AM EDT
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A 41-year-old cleaning contractor died after falling into a meat blender on Friday in a meat processing plant in Clackama, Oregon.

The worker has been identified as Hugo Avalos-Chanon, of Portland, and he worked for DCS Sanitation Management, which is a cleaning company that is under contract with Interstate Meat Distributors, Deputy Nate Thompson said, according to The Associated Press.

Police and paramedics were contacted at around 11:45 p.m. Friday after Avalos-Chanon's body was found entangled in the machinery, the AP reports.  Although another worker had hit the emergency stop button, it was too late and firefighters had to return the next day to dismantle the machinery and remove the body.

The "blunt-force injuries and chopping wounds" were the main cause of death, said Dr. Cliff Young, a deputy state medical examiner, according to the AP.

Fellow employees were not eager to discuss the horrific incident, the Examiner reports.  However, oddly enough, there was no real interruption of business during the incident.

Darrin Hoy, president of Interstate Meat Distributors, said company officials are cooperating fully with investigators, but the death was "extremely unfortunate" and is very difficult to discuss, according to the AP.  "We're not looking forward to reliving through any of it again," Hoy said.

Thompson told the AP that investigators believe the death to be the result of a "tragic industrial accident" and they do not suspect any foul play.  The investigation is on-going with Occupational Safety and Health Administration examining evidence, interviewing witnesses and reviewing records.

In October, OSHA had cited Interstate Meat Distributors claiming that the machinery in the meat-grounding room was not being properly locked down during the cleaning process according to the Examiner.  An inspector had also warned that an "unexpected start-up of the machine" could be potentially very dangerous.

A spokesperson for OSHA, in Oregon, said that it is too early in the investigation to determine what caused the man to fall into the blender, the Examiner reports.  "It's way too early to say.  We're just starting our investigation, which could take six months," Melanie Mesaros, Oregon OSHA spokeswoman, told The Oregonian, according to the AP.

As of right now, Mesaros is cautioning against jumping to any conclusions, the AP reports.  She said that the agency has inspected DCS Sanitation Management's operations in 2001, 2002 and 2004, and have found no violations thus far.

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