Industrial accident blamed for death of Wauzeka man

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By Correne Martin

Curtis Groom, 26, of Wauzeka, died Nov. 29, as a result of injuries sustained in an industrial accident last Monday afternoon, Nov. 27, at Dillman Equipment, a division of Astec, in Prairie du Chien, according to a family friend. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) opened an inspection/investigation into the incident on Thursday, Nov. 30, after Groom died Wednesday night, according to Rhonda Burke, U.S. Department of Labor Deputy Director of Public Affairs.

OSHA’s Madison area office is looking into whether or not there was any violation of safety or health rules at the facility, Burke said. The action could take up to six months to complete and, at that time, Dillman could be cited and penalized if there are any violations found as a result.

According to a friend of the family, Groom’s injury involved a sandblasting accident. Aside from hearsay, exactly what happened could not be confirmed.

“We are in the process of investigating the cause of the accident internally. We will cooperate fully with OSHA pending any investigation they conduct,” Tony Schwab, vice president/general manager, said in a statement released Friday. “We are deeply saddened by the passing of Curtis as a result of an accident at Dillman. Curtis was a new employee who was excited to be a part of our Dillman team, and we were equally as excited to have him as part of Dillman. Our company and community lost a good man. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

According to Prairie du Chien Police Lt. Terry Sprosty, the police department doesn’t commonly respond to investigate calls of this nature unless they are available or requested by local emergency medical services. He said, in this case, the department did not have officers available to respond and they were not requested by EMS.

Burke said Dillman Equipment was last cited Sept. 11, 2015, for a serious violation of “general requirements for machines” recorded March 31, 2015.

“The company settled the case with OSHA and paid a penalty of $3,150,” she stated.

For Curtis Groom’s obituary, see page 8.

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