20-Year-Old Dies Trying to Unclog Recycling Machine

A 20-year-old worker was trying to clear a cardboard jam in an industrial baler when he fell into the machine, officials say.

The man became caught in the cardboard baler and “suffered severe amputation injuries” on Feb. 7, then died of his injuries at the hospital the next day, according to an Aug. 4 news release.

Now months later, Mid-Nebraska Disposal Inc. faces $337,903 in penalties after a U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspection. The inspection was spurred by the worker’s death.

“A 20-year-old’s life was cut short needlessly,” OSHA Area Director Matt Thurlby said in the news release. “He was on the job for just nine months.”

OSHA says Mid-Nebraska Disposal, based in Grand Island, did not follow federal regulations created to prevent worker tragedies. Specifically, officials allege the company “failed to ensure energy sources were locked out, which would have kept the machine’s operating parts from moving while the worker cleared the jam.”

Mid-Nebraska Disposal did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Aug. 5.

Mid-Nebraska Disposal was cited for 18 violations involving machine safety, space requirements, training and fall hazards, according to the news release. The company also was placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

The central Nebraska recycling company has 15 business days from when it learns of the citations to either comply, request a meeting with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings.

Original Article

4 thoughts on “20-Year-Old Dies Trying to Unclog Recycling Machine

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  1. Sorry for the family of the deceased.
    Too bad the 337K will not be giveen to them for their loss.

  2. Details in this story are incorrect. They only found a small amount of blood they DNA tested after he was “missing” for 2 months. Google it.

  3. Having built machine controllers for several decades, I suspect the only way the company failed was in providing adequate training for this young man. If these machines have openings that must remain open, lockouts on doors and panels that shut down power when opened do little good. This article clearly states that the company ““failed to ensure energy sources were locked out…”, but was unclear as to whether or not it was the responsibility of this employee to hit the off switch before he tried to clear the jam. Over the decades, factories have killed many people, and in the great majority of the cases, human failure to comply was the cause. This may well be the case here.

    1. Perhaps, when a jam occurs, power systems should be made to automatically cut off to prevent these accidents.

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