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Feds fine food company $1.7 million after worker gets leg amputated at meat processing plant

Two temporary employees lost body parts working at the plant.
Zwanenberg Food Group incident
Posted at 5:24 AM, May 16, 2024

The federal government fined Zwanenberg Food Group $1.7 million after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration found several violations at its facility in Green Township, Ohio. The fines come after two temporary employees lost body parts working at the meat processing plant.

A part of the settlement includes the company investing $1.9 million in safety improvements.

Some of the improvements include:

  • Getting an analysis by an independent third-party auditor of all equipment
  • Developing and re-writing lockout/tagout procedures for all equipment
  • Enhancing machine guarding
  • Training employees on the new machine safety procedures, including lockout/tagout
  • Developing a corporate-wide safety and health management system that includes input from management and workers and the creation of a safety committee
  • Transitioning most of its workforce to permanent employees within six months

“By agreeing to make extensive safety improvements and work with OSHA and industry experts to address workplace hazards, Zwanenberg Food Group will be better equipped to ensure the safety and protect the lives of current employees and future workers at its Cincinnati production facility,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Bill Donovan.
According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Labor, a 29-year-old employee suffered critical injuries following a fall into an industrial blender in October 2022. OSHA determined that Zwanenberg Food Group ignored safety standards.

The employee had to have his leg amputated after working there for nine months.

Despite being cited and fined over $1 million for company violations discovered after that incident, OSHA was called again to the food processing plant to investigate after another temporary worker lost a finger in 2023, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Labor.

The worker reached into a meat grinder's discharge port that lacked the required safety guards, OSHA found.

After its investigation into the most recent incident, OSHA cited the company for two repeat violations: not having required machine guarding on a discharge port and failing to train employees on the company's lockout/tagout processes.

This story was originally published by Jessica Hart at Scripps News Cincinnati.