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Tampa Pepsi plant conveyor belt accident causes critical injuries

TAMPA — A Pepsi-Cola employee suffered critical injuries Sunday morning when his leg was crushed in a machine at the company's Tampa plant.

The incident marked the third major casualty at the plant in less than six months.

At 11:31 a.m. Sunday, a caller to 911 reported that an employee was pinned with his left leg trapped in a conveyor rail system at the plant, at 11315 N 30th St. near the University of South Florida, according to Tampa Fire Rescue.

The 39-year-old man had been cleaning the system before his co-workers heard him screaming and rushed to his aid, Tampa police said.

Members of the fire department's heavy rescue team worked for nearly 90 minutes to free the man from the machinery, officials said.

The man, whose name wasn't released, was airlifted to Tampa General Hospital with what rescuers said were life-threatening injuries.

A spokesman for Pepsi couldn't be reached for comment Sunday evening.

The warehouse and production facility is among the largest soft drink manufacturing plants in the country. It has produced millions of cases of Pepsi products, including 7Up and Dr. Pepper, predominantly for customers throughout southwestern Florida.

In March, a man was killed and another seriously injured at the same plant when an automated storage-retrieval system collapsed on them.

In the warehouse portion of the plant, which is at least 100 feet tall and lined with Pepsi products, a mechanical lift fell from about 20 feet and crushed the men.

Both men were contractors doing maintenance work on the system, which is used to move pallets of Pepsi products.

The federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration was notified following that incident.

Dan Sullivan can be reached at (813) 22603321 or dsullivan@sptimes.com.

Tampa Pepsi plant conveyor belt accident causes critical injuries 08/28/11 [Last modified: Monday, August 29, 2011 11:55am]

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