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Immigrant’s death reveals the risks behind the scenes

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Yoga Pasupathipillai, a 61-year-old assembly-line worker at the Piantedosi Baking Company in Malden, was apparently laying a tray on a conveyor belt on Aug. 6 when her apron was snagged in the machinery. The belt twisted her apron around her neck and choked her, state officials said; she died in the hospital nine days later. The federal investigation led to a settlement that required the company to check all workstations by the end of last year and fix any hazards by the end of March.

“It shouldn’t happen to anyone,” said Thiru Satchi, 53, her cousin and only relative in the United States.

Because her violent death happened out of public view, it was not widely known for weeks. But the bakery’s safety violation — its second in two years — is focusing new attention on the dangers facing the increasingly immigrant workforce that toils in bakeries, factories, and construction sites across Massachusetts.

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