A Santa Ana-based company was fined $250,160 in connection with a fatal workplace accident, Cal/OSHA officials announced Tuesday.
Aardvark Clay & Supplies Inc. was cited for the Sept. 20 workplace accident at 1400 E. Pomona St. that killed 18-year-old Enrique Vasquez Garcia. He sustained amputation, puncture and asphyxia-related injuries, according to Cal/OSHA.
Garcia died after he was sucked into a clay-making machine called a pug mill. He was packaging clay blocks after they were cut into a proper size, but got “entangled” in the machine when he tried to see why clay ceased going through an extruder, the state agency reported.
Cal/OSHA said the company had removed safeguards on the machine and faulted it for not training workers on the device before the accident.
The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“Pug mills have rotating blades that can cause amputations and fatally injure employees,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “Employers must ensure all machinery and its parts are properly guarded, and employees are effectively trained to prevent tragic accidents like this.”
The company has five clay mixers and four clay extruders, which had openings without coverings to protect employees, the agency reported.
The company removed safeguards on the machines prior to the accident because it believed they slowed production, according to Cal/OSHA.
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