A cleaning contractor fell into a mechanical blender at a Oregon meat processing plant last Friday and was killed. Oregon OSHA investigators are investigating the death of Hugo Avalos-Chanon, 41, of Southeast Portland, who was declared dead shortly before midnight at Interstate Meat Distributors Inc. Avalos-Chanon worked for DCS Sanitation Management Inc., which is contracted to clean meat-processing equipment daily at the company.

Clackamas County sheriff's deputies and paramedics were called in on Friday night after Avalos-Chanon was found entangled in the blender. His body was not removed until the following day, after firefighters had dismantled the machine. The worker died of blunt-force injuries and chopping wounds, according to a deputy state medical examiner.

The Oregonian reports that Interstate Meat Distributors had been cited by the state Occupational Safety and Health Division last October after inspectors found that machinery wasn't properly locked down during cleaning. At the time, inspectors noted that an “unexpected startup of the machine” could cause injuries.

Melanie Mesaros, Oregon OSHA spokeswoman, said the October report may not be connected to Avalos-Chanon's death. "It's way too early to say," Mesaros said. "We're just starting our investigation, which could take six months."

Mesaros said the agency inspected DCS Sanitation Management's operations in 2001, 2002 and 2004, finding no violations.

Darrin Hoy, president of Interstate Meat Distributors, said company officials are cooperating fully with investigators, but said Avalos-Chanon's death was "extremely unfortunate" and difficult to discuss. "We're not looking forward to reliving through any of it again," Hoy said.

Sources: The Oregonian, Oregon Live