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Ohio food processor cited in worker’s leg amputation


An Ohio food processing company has been fined $1.9 million and cited for 11 willful, four serious, one repeat and one other-than-serious violations after the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration said its workplace safety failures led to an employee’s leg amputation.

OSHA on Thursday announced citations against Cincinnati-based Zwanenberg Food Group USA Inc., a subsidiary of Holland-based Zwanenberg Food Group BV, after inspectors said the employer failed to train sanitation workers on equipment lockout procedures before cleaning machines.

The case followed an Oct. 12, 2022, incident in which a temporary worker, on the job for only nine months, suffered critical injuries after falling into an industrial blender.

While cleaning the machine, the worker’s leg became caught in the rotating paddle augers, an accident that ultimately led to the leg’s amputation.

OSHA said the company was cited for similar violations just two weeks before the incident.

The company was cited for failing to verify changes to the lockout/tagout procedures, failing to retrain workers when changes occurred, failing to periodically test procedures and correct deviations, and failing to issue workers personal protective equipment.

OSHA said it placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program in 2017.

The company was given 15 days to contest the citations and proposed fines. OSHA said the company already challenged the latest violations.  

Zwanenberg Food Group operates production facilities in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the U.S.

It was cited for machine safety violations and other hazards in 2017 and 2022.