CORVALLIS, Ore.—The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration has fined a Corvallis-based custom rubber manufacturer $3,600 for a fatal accident at the facility in August.
Trenton Howe, a 23-year-old employee of Oregon Rubber Mills, was operating a cutter machine at the facility Aug. 23 when another employee asked him for help with a batch of rubber running through one of the plant's festoon machines.
A festoon machine, according to the report issued in February by Oregon OSHA, is where rubber is cooled and made ready for shipment.
"Rubber strips are fed onto the machine's metal rods that transport the rubber strips around the festoon while fans blow air out through the rubber strips," the report said.
The other employee wanted Howe to help him get a strip of rubber onto the conveyor belt so the rubber could be placed on a pallet, the report said. When no rubber came out, the employee went to the other side of the conveyor belt to find Howe caught in the festoon machine.
Emergency personnel pronounced Howe dead at the scene, of a broken neck.
In the report, Oregon OSHA investigators noted that Oregon Rubber Mills' festoon machines operate almost continuously during the day. At the time of the accident, it said, there was no way to prevent operators or other employees from coming into contact with the machine's moving parts.