MOSINEE company fined $171K in WORKER DEATH

A Mosinee aluminum fabricating company faces a $171,169 fine following an investigation into the June death of a chemical technician at the facility, officials said this week.

The OSHA investigation resulted in 10 safety violations at Crystal Finishing Systems, according to a news release by the agency. Daniel Olhoff, 51, died June 14 after an automated crane pinned him between a crane hook and industrial equipment being moved, officials say.

Among the violations found: Crystal Finishing officials failed to adequately guard machines to prevent workers from coming into contact with operating parts and did not sufficiently train its workers.

“A man died tragically, leaving his family, friends and co-workers to suffer an overwhelming loss,” says Robert Bonack, OSHA’s area director in Appleton. “Crystal Finishing must improve its safety and health programs and procedures to protect workers at all its Wisconsin facilities.”

But Mark Matthiae, founder and president of Crystal Finishing Systems, says more than 90% of the fines were unrelated to the accident.

“We take these alleged infractions seriously, but think the citations and penalties were overstated,” Matthiae says. The company is working with outside parties to correct safety concerns, he says. “We have been working and very cooperative with OSHA over the past 23 years and we are confident this matter will be resolved quickly based upon that cooperative effort.”

The company has 15 days from when it receives the citations to either comply with the fine, request an informal meeting with the OSHA area director, or contest the findings in front of an independent commission. Matthiae did not say whether the company would contest the investigatory findings.

Crystal Finishing Systems is an aluminum fabricating and coating business founded in 1993 with locations in Schofield, Mosinee and River Falls. The company employs approximately 750 people.