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Worker clearing jam dies after machine pulls him in, feds say. Kansas Company Cited

An employee was trying to clear a jam when he was fatally pulled into a bagging machine at a plastic manufacturing plant in Kansas, according to federal authorities.

The worker had been caught by the machine, pulled into the spinning bars and snagged in a part before dying, U.S. Department of Labor officials said in a Jan. 26 news release. The name of the deceased worker was not disclosed.

After his death on Aug. 4, Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigators opened an investigation into Great Lakes Polymer Technologies LLC in Kingman, about 40 miles west of Wichita.

Authorities discovered that duct tape had been affixed to the machine’s safety interlock, which prevented the machinery from stopping, according to the press release.

“Proper machinery safety training and procedures could have prevented this worker from losing his life,” OSHA Area Director Todd Underwood said in the release. “The manufacturing industry knows that moving machine parts can be deadly, especially when proper guarding is not used and safety procedures are ignored.”

McClatchy News reached out to Great Lakes Polymer Technologies for comment and did not immediately hear back on Jan. 26.

OSHA said the company failed to use “proper machine guarding,” follow proper procedures shutting down machines during maintenance, and training workers on how to shut down machines for maintenance. The company also exposed workers to slip hazards such as “plastic particles and spilled hydraulic fluid on the floors,” according to the release.

Great Lakes Polymer Technologies was sued and faces $292,421 in fines, authorities said.

The company has 15 business days from service of the subpoenas to comply, request a meeting with OSHA, or dispute the findings.

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