Worker Buried Alive After Sugar Plant Pulls Safety Device
Anti-accident screen was 'slowing down production'
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2014 1:02 AM CDT
Updated Jul 8, 2014 5:03 AM CDT
Salinas died buried alive in sugar inside this hopper.   (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)

(Newser) – A worker at a Pennsylvania sugar plant died buried alive in sugar in an accident that could have been prevented by a safety device removed just 13 days earlier, a ProPublica investigation finds. Janio Salinas—a 50-year-old who, like every other employee in the CSC Sugar warehouse in Fairless Hills, was a temp worker—died after climbing inside a huge hopper to remove sugar clogs on February 25, 2013. The warehouse manager told the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that he had asked for a safety screen to prevent such an accident, but after one was installed, the plant manager decided to get rid of it because it was slowing down production. The Bucks County Courier Times reports that with the screen, sugar clumps had to be broken up every 30 to 40 minutes; without it, clogs only occurred two or three times a shift.

Another worker nearly met the same fate soon after the screen was removed, but it wasn't replaced despite the near-miss, investigators found. The death at the plant that supplies the makers of Snapple drinks and Ben & Jerry's ice cream was one of numerous gruesome deaths that spurred OSHA to boost enforcement of rules affecting temp workers, who face a much greater risk of being killed or injured on the job than other workers, ProPublica notes. Before Salinas died early last year, there had been no reports of violations at the sugar plant, which was fined $25,855 by OSHA after the accident. After the plant installed a new safety device, the fine was cut to $18,098.

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Showing 3 of 106 comments
Crystal
Oct 8, 2014 10:50 AM CDT
Another liberal business operating with questionable supplier- Apple and Nike are others. They only want to regulate "other" businesses, not theirs! Don't buy Ben and Jerry's or Snapple
WoodCarverHolo
Jul 11, 2014 1:48 PM CDT
These "employees" are ALL illegal mexicans, so who cares? It's not like there's not 12 million more of them to replace him. Ever try to get a job there// You won't cause your not mexican.
Marilyn Eustice Halcomb
Jul 9, 2014 4:09 PM CDT
It is sad that this mans life was not worthy for them to keep the safety screen installed. They ought to have to pay dearly for this. It will cost a lot more than the lost time they experienced when they decided to pull the safety screen! These people are just too selfish and uncaring!