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Electrical Worker Killed in WI Accident

HOWARD, WI — An electrical worker from Appleton died and a co-worker was critically injured this morning after they fell 30 feet from scaffolding at a Howard paper company

Michael M. Leroy, 41, of Appleton, who worked for Faith Technologies of Menasha, was killed in the accident, Brown County Medical Examiner Al Klimek said.

The other worker is in stable condition, according to information provided by the companies involved.

The accident was reported about 7 a.m. Leroy and his co-worker apparently fell from “scissors-type” scaffolding at Hattiesburg Paper Co., 2641 N. Packerland Drive, said Chief Deputy John Gossage of the Brown County Sheriff’s Department.

Once the men were on the ground, the scaffolding collapsed on top of them, Gossage said.

The men were “performing routine electrical maintenance at the facility at the time of the incident,” according to a prepared statement read this afternoon by Greg Santaga, president of Hattiesburg Paper. He appeared outside the plant for a news conference with Mike Jansen, president of Faith Technologies, an electrical construction services company.

“Faith Technologies and Hattiesburg Paper are committed to providing a safe work environment and are deeply saddened by the tragedy of this incident,” Santaga said.

Santaga and Jansen said they are investigating the incident. The companies are working with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and local authorities.

The plant is closed.

“We are deeply saddened by this incident and our thoughts and prayers go out to the employees and families affected by this incident,” Santaga and Jansen said in a joint statement released earlier today. “We continue to cooperate with local police and OSHA in the investigation.”

Hattiesburg Paper Corp. was created in 2005 when Santaga, a Green Bay businessman, purchased an old Kimberly-Clark Corp. plant in Hattiesburg, Miss.

The company produces a variety of paper products and is a major supplier of napkins, bags and other products for area Subway sandwich shops.

Santaga also owns Green Bay Converting, another paper company that he founded in 1999. Green Bay Converting was recognized by the state in 2004 as one of Wisconsin’s top manufacturing firms. In 2008, Green Bay Converting moved its headquarters from Ashwaubenon to a Green Bay site about one mile from the Hattiesburg Paper plant.

It is not clear whether Hattiesburg Paper and Green Bay Converting operate independently of each other.

Santaga used a $1 million state tax credit in 2006 to announce plans for expansion of Hattiesburg Paper, which is described on the company’s website as a 400,000-square-foot facility.

The Green Bay Press-Gazette reported last year that Hattiesburg Paper is owned by Select Product Group LP of Dallas. Select Product Group spokesman John Olsen said Thursday his company still owns the Green Bay firm, but he declined to comment further.

Federal worker safety records show no previous incidents involving Hattiesburg Paper or Green Bay Converting.

According to its web site, Faith Technologies was founded in 1972. The privately-held firm employs 1,400 people and has operations in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Georgia.

According to OSHA, Faith Technologies has been cited for worker safety violations many times in recent years.

Most recently, the company paid $10,000 in fines for two serious violations on an excavation job this summer in Missouri. The federal agency defines serious as infractions that could result in worker death or serious injury.

The most recent citation in Wisconsin occurred in 2006 on an electrical job site in Milwaukee and resulted in a $1,500 fine.

Story via Green Bay Press Gazzette

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  1. Seriously misunderstood
    December 8, 2010 at 9:19 am

    Just to let you know, the Green Bay Press Gazette has updated the information on this accident regarding the safety history of Faith Technologies. It would be better for everyone involved if the correct information is brought to light. Please copy and paste the link to read for yourself, the updated version of the story above. Otherwise, the following two paragraphs complete the story you read above.

    “Faith Technologies officials said both cases [OSHA violations] were resolved later through negotiated settlements in which the fines were dropped. OSHA said such settlements typically mean a company has corrected problems that contributed to violations.

    Company spokesman Tom Clark said the firm has been cited by OSHA six times in the past 10 years, which he characterized as typical in the industry. He also said Faith Technologies recently received a safety award from Associated General Contractors of America.”

    http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/article/20101202/GPG0101/101202123/Federal-investigation-into-fatal-accident-at-Howard-paper-company-could-take-months

    Faith Technologies has an above average saftey record, and the employees of Faith Technologies take this very seriously. On the job and off, the individuals involved kept safety a number one priority.

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