Man survives plunge into SLO meat grinder

July 17, 2015

CKFAfVqUMAAHZKXA worker at a wholesale grocer in San Luis Obispo almost lost his life inside a meat grinder Thursday, but a co-worker came to the rescue. [Tribune]

At about 2 p.m., the worker, who is described as a man in his 20s, was operating a meat grinder at Vitco Food Service on Capitolio Way when he reached into the hopper of the grinder to dislodge meat that appeared stuck. The machine caught the worker’s sleeve and pulled him in the grinder, San Luis Obispo Fire Battalion Chief Bob Bisson said.

A co-worker heard the man screaming and hit a kill switch.

The machine shut off just before the man’s arm reached the grinding section. Bisson said he believed the co-worker saved the man’s life by hitting the kill switch.

When San Luis Obispo fire personnel arrived, they used hydraulic rescue machines to dismantle the meat grinder and pull the man out. The worker’s arm was seriously fractured in several places.

Emergency personnel transported the man to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center for treatment



  1. womanwhohasbeenthere says:

    Very, very basic safety training says you turn off equipment before servicing it. It’s called Lock-Out/Tag-Out, where you actually put a tag or even a lock on the equipment to say it’s shut off, don’t anyone else turn it on. But woe to the employer if he doesn’t have proof that the employee actually took that class or training session that says, turn off equipment before trying to unjam it or work on it. He could be in very serious trouble for violating OSHA standards, At the very least, the owner now has a workers comp claim on his insurance, and even if it was not his fault, he will end up paying.

    (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  2. SLO_Johnny says:

    I can’t begin to figure out what would bring someone to believe that it would be a good idea to stick his arm into the chute of a meat grinder. Really? Come on, man.
    Was the guy drunk or high or just stupid? Did anyone actually provide him with safety training? I just glad he wasn’t injured more seriously.

    (4) 10 Total Votes - 7 up - 3 down
    • slophocles says:

      He may have just been hungover. The only way you can continue to work at a meat-grinding facility, in my opinion, is to drink heavily each and every night. I remember one day I was hungover and shoved my hand into my garbage disposal at home to retrieve a fork. I lost the tip of a finger but got the fork. I then poured myself three fingers of bourbon and repeated the process until the bourbon was gone. The next morning I reported to the paint factory I worked at, with my stubbed finger, and no one noticed the difference.

      (0) 4 Total Votes - 2 up - 2 down
      • SLO_Johnny says:

        In my experience, tile setters are the biggest drinkers. Just about all the guys I used to manage were heavy drinkers or in AA. I think it’s working with all those little squares all day and the pain in their knees and back.

        (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  3. indigo1955 says:

    This really IS turning into the National Enquirer! We need some aliens! Do an alien story!

    (-5) 15 Total Votes - 5 up - 10 down
    • BeenThereDoneThat says:

      If you are offended stop reading. It’s called free will.

      (5) 13 Total Votes - 9 up - 4 down
  4. Rambunctious says:

    I’m just glad he is ok I’m also still laughing about the ground chuck post…Thanks Jorge! I needed that.

    (6) 6 Total Votes - 6 up - 0 down
  5. SLOBIRD says:

    Another great job for our public safety employees. Job well done!

    (6) 18 Total Votes - 12 up - 6 down
  6. Jorge Estrada says:

    Now I know why they call it ground Chuck.

    (8) 16 Total Votes - 12 up - 4 down
  7. Cindy says:

    I don’t mean to be insensitive but is there anyone out there who would reach into their garbage to dislodge a bone while the disposal was turned on? I mean, really….

    Maybe a hopper doesn’t run on the same principal, I don’t know but didn’t this employee have any safety training ?

    (11) 27 Total Votes - 19 up - 8 down
  8. Kevin Rice says:

    You can bet reaching into the hopper is improper and against safety rules and recommendations. Now the company has damaged equipment and the employee is injured.

    (23) 49 Total Votes - 36 up - 13 down
    • Kevin Rice says:

      Eleven people (down votes) disagree. Darwin is smiling.

      (5) 11 Total Votes - 8 up - 3 down
      • panflash says:

        Actually, Kev, I think Darwin is probably laughing his ass off.

        (1) 5 Total Votes - 3 up - 2 down
    • slophocles says:

      I once reported to work extremely hungover. I worked in a restaurant at the time, as a prep-cook. I had to slice a batch of red onions and proceeded to turn on the electric slicer and immediately sawed off the left half of my right index finger. Well, it was either keep slicing, and getting blood into the onions or report to sick bay and lose a couple days’ pay. I chose to keep slicing, Rent was due that week. Now I have half an index finger but I have money to drink after work each night. If I did not have the money to drink I would not report to work each day and my landlord would not get paid and no red onions would not get sliced. I am now living the American dream.

      (0) 4 Total Votes - 2 up - 2 down
    • Theo P. Neustic says:

      I’m sure that now there will be some huge investigation by a multitude of government parasites that is going to cost the company even more money and time. All because some guy ” thought” it would be a good idea to reach inside an operating meat grinder against company policy.

      (5) 7 Total Votes - 6 up - 1 down

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