Martinsburg worker injured in ice plant accident

January 12, 1999|By BRYN MICKLE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A worker at the Cassco Ice plant in Martinsburg was seriously injured Monday morning when his arm was caught in an auger machine, officials said.

Craig Riner, 22, was by himself operating a piece of ice-handling equipment at the Factory Street plant around 9:30 a.m. when his left arm became entangled in the machine, said Cassco spokesman Neil Showalter.

It took rescue workers 22 minutes to free Riner from the machine, said Martinsburg Fire Department Lt. Eddie Gochenour. Riner was taken to Martinsburg City Hospital, then flown in stable condition to Fairfax INOVA Hospital in Fairfax, Va.

Gochenour would not comment on specifics of the accident but said Riner's injury was "very serious."

Showalter, the senior vice president of the mid-Atlantic region for the Harrisonburg, Va.-based Cassco, said the cause of the accident was under investigation. Showalter said he did not know the extent of Riner's injuries, classifying them as "serious but not life threatening."


The auger machine Riner was operating transports ice through the ice-handling process, Showalter said.

Showalter said Riner would be interviewed about the incident this week to determine what happened. A preliminary investigation did not indicate any problems with the auger machine or its safety mechanism, said Showalter.

The auger came to an emergency stop as soon as Riner's arm became entangled, Showalter said.

Riner has been employed at Cassco since 1996 and said there had been no previous problems with the auger, Showalter said.

He added the Martinsburg plant has an excellent safety record and said he could not remember the last time there was a serious injury.

Cassco, which produces packaged ice for wholesale and retail markets, has been in Martinsburg since the 1940s, Showalter said. The Martinsburg plant employs about 30 people.

An official at the West Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Administration said a check of the OSHA Internet site,, showed no violations for Cassco in OSHA's last inspection in 1996.

Companies must file a report if someone is killed or if there are three or more overnight hospital stays in a year for company employees, according to OSHA regulations.

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