OSHA fines 3M over worker death at Wisconsin facility

Federal authorities have fined Maplewood-based 3M, saying the company could’ve prevented an employee’s death at a Wisconsin plant this spring.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says the death happened in May at the Prairie du Chien facility after an employee got caught while setting up a plastic extrusion line.

OSHA says the power rollers on the machine had been flagged as needing improvement by a review last year after an employee at 3M’s Alexandria plant died.

“The tragedy of another employee’s death in Wisconsin is compounded by the fact that the 3M Company completed a corporate-wide review and determined powered rollers were hazards in need of safety improvements,” OSHA Regional Administrator Bill Donovan said in a statement. “The company must address these hazards immediately to protect employees from serious injuries or worse.”

The death at the Wisconsin plant led OSHA to hand 3M a pair of safety violations as well as a $312,518 fine.

A 3M spokesperson sent the following statement to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS:

“The safety and health of all our employees is our top priority, and we are deeply saddened by this tragic incident. Over the last six months, we have worked closely with federal workplace safety and health regulators in connection with their inspection of our Prairie du Chien worksite. In addition, 3M has continued to implement improvements and investments to help prevent similar incidents in the future, and communicated these improvements to our employees at the worksite.

“We are currently in the process of evaluating the Occupational Safety Health Administration’s Citation and Notification of Penalty and we will continue to work with the Department of Labor to address this matter.”