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Worker dies in blender at Oregon meat plant

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POSTED April 30, 2013 9:14 p.m.

CLACKAMAS, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon cleaning worker was killed when he fell into a running blender at a meat-processing plant, the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office said.

Deputy Nate Thompson identified the worker as Hugo Avalos-Chanon, 41, of Portland. He worked for DCS Sanitation Management, a cleaning company that has a contract with Interstate Meat Distributors.

Paramedics and sheriff's deputies were called around 11:45 p.m. Friday, after Avalos-Chanon was found entangled in the machinery. Another worker had hit an emergency stop button, but it was too late, Thompson said. Firefighters returned the following day to dismantle the machine and remove the body.

Dr. Cliff Young, a deputy state medical examiner, said Avalos-Chanon died from "blunt-force injuries and chopping wounds."

Thompson said investigators believe the death is a "tragic industrial accident" and do not suspect foul play.

Investigators with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are examining evidence, interviewing witnesses and reviewing records.

An OSHA report on the plant from last fall found machines were not locked during the tear-down process for cleaning. The inspector said an "unexpected start-up of the machine" could cause injuries.

Melanie Mesaros, Oregon OSHA spokeswoman, cautioned against jumping to conclusions.

"It's way too early to say," Mesaros told The Oregonian (http://is.gd/kLeEjV ). "We're just starting our investigation, which could take six months."

Darrin Hoy, president of Interstate Meat Distributors, said company officials are cooperating fully with investigators, but Avalos-Chanon's death was "extremely unfortunate" and difficult to discuss.

"We're not looking forward to reliving through any of it again," Hoy said.

Mesaros said the agency inspected DCS Sanitation Management's operations in 2001, 2002 and 2004, finding no violations.

 

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