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3M cited for safety violations following worker’s death in Wisconsin

Woman died in industrial accident at Prairie du Chien plant in May

3M logo
This Jan. 26, 2010 file photo shows the 3M Co. logo on some of the company’s products, in Philadelphia. Matt Rourke/AP File Photo

Safety violations at a 3M plant in Wisconsin contributed to the death of a worker in May, according to findings from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

A 57-year-old Iowa woman was killed in an industrial accident at the plant in Prairie du Chien. An investigation by OSHA found company safety violations contributed to the accident that led the woman to be caught in a machine’s rotating rollers while she was helping set up a plastic extrusion line.

The investigation found the company failed to use safety control steps for workers setting up the line by hand. It also found the company allowed workers to circumvent machine guarding on rotating powered rollers.

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“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 formal statement. “The company must address these hazards immediately to protect employees from serious injuries or worse.”

The incident followed the company’s assessment of equipment at its U.S. and Canadian plants in May 2022 after a fatality at a 3M facility in Alexandria, Minnesota, in February 2022, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Labor.

OSHA cited 3M for two “willful safety violations” and assessed a proposed $312,000 in fines. The company has 15 days to accept or contest the findings.

In a statement, 3M said the health and safety of employees is the company’s top priority.

“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,” the company stated. “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.”

According to the statement, the company is in the process of evaluating the citation and notification of penalty and “will continue to work with the Department of Labor to address this matter.”