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Man injured at hay plant
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A 43-year-old man was seriously injured Tuesday morning at a hay processing plant in Delhi when he accidentally triggered a piece of machinery that mistook him for a bale of hay.

The Merced County Sheriff’s Department was called to the accident site and classified the man’s injuries as “severe” but did not know to what extent.

The accident was at the plant in the 14000 block of Harding Avenue. The sheriff’s department received a call at 7:44 a.m. Tuesday, about an hour after the accident occurred, said sheriff spokesman Deputy Tom Mackenzie.

The preliminary investigation indicates the man was on top of the machine trying to clear it out when the accident occurred. The machine, called a “de-stacker” turns regular-size hay bales into smaller versions that are shipped to Japan.

It appears that the man triggered the machine when he crossed in front of an electric sensor. A safety switch that turns the censor off was mistakenly left on, MacKenzie said.

The machine mistook the man for a hay bale and pinched him between his stomach and back.

Nearly an hour later the man was freed from the machinery and transported via air ambulance to a Modesto hospital.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will be conducting their own investigation into the workplace accident, MacKenzie said.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.