Another bakery worker’s death

By Brian Williams
May 23, 2022

Another woman died on the job in North Carolina May 3 after getting stuck inside an industrial bread machine for an hour, the second such death in the state in three weeks.

Virginia López Severiano, 44, was cleaning an industrial food mixer used to make bread at Azteca Market in Selma when half of her body got trapped inside the machine. Crews spent nearly 90 minutes taking the machine apart to free her. She was taken by helicopter to Duke University Hospital for emergency surgery to save her arm, but died from injuries.

Her death, like that of 22-year-old Bibiana Arellano Delabra, who was crushed to death April 16 while operating a large industrial mixing machine at an Automatic Rolls plant in Clayton, is a product of the bosses’ drive for profit at the expense of safety and workers’ lives. The bread machine was on when López Severiano tried to clean it.

“No worker has to die on the job,” Samir Hazboun, a bakery worker and Socialist Workers Party candidate for U.S. Senate from Ohio, told the Militant. “All work can be done safely. But for this to happen workers need to organize and use our unions to take control over all phases of production, including mandatory lockout of all machinery being serviced, the pace of work, number of workers assigned to each job, work schedules and more.”