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Worker's hand minced in Swedish meatball mishap

David Landes · 22 Nov 2011, 13:05

Published: 22 Nov 2011 13:05 GMT+01:00

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The accident occurred at 7am on Tuesday morning at a plant in Skara operated by Scan, after a 60-year-old employee tried an unorthodox approach to clear a jammed meat grinder.

“First, he was forced to open the machine several times, which has a safety mechanism that causes it to stop automatically,” Scan spokeswoman Margareta Thorgren told The Local.

Despite repeatedly sticking his arm down in the grinder to clean the machine, the 60-year-old man, who has worked at the plant since 1997, found that the machine still jammed upon restarting.

“He then attempted a maneuver whereby he left the machine running and then stuck his hand up inside from the bottom, at which point his hand became caught in the machine and he injured his fingers,” said Thorgren.

The man was immediately taken to hospital where he was being treated for his injuries, but Thorgren was unable to confirm the extent to which the man's hand had been damaged.

“This is an extremely unfortunate incident,” she said.

“Luckily, it doesn't happen that often.”

In the meantime, the meatball processing line remains idle pending an investigation into the accident.

The plant's workplace safety officer, as well as officials from Sweden's Work Environment Authority (Arbetsmiljöverket) will be on hand later on Tuesday to look into what caused the machine to jam in the first place.

“At this point we don't know what happened,” said Thorgren.

“Everything will be carefully reviewed. It appears that the man's injuries were caused by a deviation from standard procedures, but we nevertheless take the incident very seriously.”

Story continues below…

Founded in 1899, Scan AB is one of Sweden's largest producers of meat products including meatballs, sausages, bacon and a range of other products.

Since 1970, the Scan brand has been used by all of Sweden's slaughterhouse cooperatives.

Today, the company is a part of HKScan and operates processing facilities in Skara, Örebro, Kristianstad, and Linköping.

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:49 November 22, 2011 by StockholmSam
"The plant's workplace safety officer...will be on hand... to look into what caused the machine to jam in the first place."

So many jokes, so little time.
17:06 November 22, 2011 by roaringchicken92
@Stockholm Sam


Still, ouch. Gives new meaning to the term 'finger food'.
00:31 November 23, 2011 by biddi
Moral of the story ..... don't eat meat.
00:47 November 23, 2011 by StuartM
I've never once eaten meatballs as I'm a vegetarian (apart from the fake Hälsans Kök variety). Falafel is so much better and a really nice cheap thing to get for your lunch- have started buying it since I moved to Sweden. One of the many advantages of the multicultural, ethnically-diverse society which idiots here so decry.
03:44 November 23, 2011 by GLO
Finnaily real Swedish Meatballs,,, and good for you if you drink with a beer....
14:59 November 23, 2011 by Bazsy
"Luckily, it doesn't happen that often."

Being a safety engineer this quote struck me pretty hard. Workplace accidents should have nothing to do with luck, that exactly is the job of the safety officer.
08:59 November 25, 2011 by John.Smith
Erm... what did he expect to happen when he stuck his hand down a meat mincer??
16:16 November 25, 2011 by muscle
once you open the butt of the machine.. machine said oh well its OK. Twice, the machine was like "hmMmm ooooookhay"... another time.. come on the machine had say "gimme a break pal!"
05:26 November 27, 2011 by philster61
00:26 November 29, 2011 by mcarroll1
Aw this guy is just giving the two fingers to the safety rules, No?
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