March 27, 2019

2 Min Read
Firm Fined $250K After Worker Dies in Industrial Mixer

Ceramic material and supply company Aardvark Clay & Supplies was fined $250,160 by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) after a worker was fatally injured by an industrial mixer at the firm’s Santa Ana,  CA facility, California’s Department of Industrial Relations announced in a release Tuesday.

On Sept. 20, 2018, a worker was examining a piece of mixing equipment called a pug mill to determine the cause of blockage in an extruder. While looking at the machinery, the person became caught in its unguarded mixing blades and was injured. 

Cal/OSHA investigators found that the company removed safety guards from the industrial mixing equipment and failed to provide the worker with training on use of the equipment prior to the incident. 

“Pug mills have rotating blades that can cause amputations and fatally injure employees, Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum said in a statement. “Employers must ensure all machinery and its parts are properly guarded, and employees are trained to prevent tragic accidents like this.”

 All four of the facility’s pug mixers were found to have unguarded openings that exposed workers to moving parts. The company removed the original guards and replaced them with fabricated versions, but removed them prior to the accident because the company thought they hindered the plant’s production rate, according to the regulator. 

Aardvark Clay & Supplies was cited with five violations, including one willful-serious accident-related, one willful-serious, two serious, and one general. 

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