NC Food Plant Worker Dies in Conveyor Incident

Monday, October 29, 2018 @ 07:10 PM gHale

An industrial incident claimed the life of a mechanic at a Smithfield Foods plant in Tar Heel, NC, after he became trapped in a piece of machinery, officials said.

Michael Jessup, 55, was fatally injured while he was on a scissor lift performing repair work on a conveyor belt Oct. 11, officials said.

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Emergency responders got the call at 3:30 p.m. to the Tar Heel facility and officials pronounced the man dead at the scene as a result of trauma to the head.

“The employee was struck in the head by a cylinder while trying to remove a bent wheel from a chain drive. The employee switched the airline hoses to relieve pressure from the chain when the employee was stuck,” said NC Department of Labor spokesperson Mary Katherine Revels.

Smithfield said it plans to investigate the worker’s death. North Carolina’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is also looking into the incident.

Jessup was an employee of Smithfield for about a decade, reports said.

The plant appears to have a history of safety violations in recent years. A search of inspection records on the U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA website reveals 11 entries over the past five years.

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