A machine operator at Penda Corp. died June 20 at its Portage, Wis., thermoforming facility.
Alan Gillessen, 43, died instantly of massive skull fractures, according to a Columbia County coroner's report and company officials.
Gillessen apparently attempted to adjust a malfunctioning machine part without activating a safety apparatus that would have shut off the thermoforming machine, the company said. Gillessen had been an operator for more than two years at the plant, which produces truck bedliners.
``Penda's thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Gillessen's family,'' Samuel Mostkoff, vice president and general counsel, said in a June 26 telephone interview. ``We were very appreciative of the efforts of employees and associates who responded at the scene of the accident.
``We made counselors available to all of our associates who felt a need to talk to someone about the accident.''
Just prior to the fatality, Mostkoff said, the company had celebrated six months of operation with no lost time due to accidents.
The Madison, Wis., regional office of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating, and results will not be released for another two or three weeks, an OSHA spokesman said.
With $79 million in thermoforming sales, Penda operates another automotive thermoforming facility in Ayden, N.C. The company employs 425.