Create a free account to continue

Wisconsin Manufacturer Cited Following Partial Amputations

In February, a welder lost a portion of her finger on a welding machine.

A Milwaukee-area manufacturer faces penalties of more than $200,000 after two separate incidents in which workers lost parts of their fingers.

In February, a 19-year-old welder lost a portion of her finger on a welding machine at the Kapco Inc. plant in Osceola, Wisconsin.

The Grafton-based metal stamping company reportedly reached an agreement to implement additional safety measures after the same machine cost another welder part of her finger in 2014, but investigators from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined that neither upgrade was fully in place.

The agency also cited the company for failing to install safety guards on other metalworking equipment. An accident on a metal straightening machine cost a third Osceola worker her finger in 2014, while a Grafton employee had three fingers amputated in 2013 after an accident on a power press.

In total, OSHA announced eight citations against Kapco for safety violations. Total fines could amount to $207,600.

"Kapco has consciously placed employees at risk of serious injury to increase production. The company ignored its agreement to protect workers," said Mark Hysell, OSHA's Eau Claire area director. "OSHA will hold the company responsible for its lack of regard for employee safety and its legal obligation to provide a safe work environment."

Kapco officials vowed to "vigorously" contest the findings during an appeals process.

"Not only have we been compliant in meeting industry standards, we have proactively allocated vast resources to exceed safety protocols in many areas," said Osceola plant operations manager Paul Pueschner.