Medical Examiner’s report released in West Allis industrial accident

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WEST ALLIS (WITI) — The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office has released autopsy results for a 48-year-old man killed Sunday, July 28th in an industrial accident in West Allis.

Crews were called to Metal Technologies on S. 68th Street around 7:00 Sunday morning.

A Medical Examiner’s report says the man, identified as Billy Johnson was lowering a 24,000 pound dust collector when a chain broke.

The Medical Examiner’s report says the man was either struck in the head by the chain and thrown off 30 feet, or he was thrown off and struck his head on the ground.

The Medical Examiner’s report says the man fell approximately 15 feet to the ground.

The report says a man was wearing a helmet at the time of the incident, but it was apparently not buckled.

According to the Medical Examiner, Johnson suffered massive head trauma.

An employee told the Medical Examiner Johnson may have been struck in the head by the chain before he fell.

The company, Metal Technologies, was closed in 2009.

Johnson was working for S&S Technologies out of Michigan. The business specializes in installation, rigging, and machinery moving.

The crew had been in Milwaukee dismantling large pieces of equipment at factory that had closed down. For this particular job they were taking apart a 24,000 lb dust collector, which was being held up by chains from a metal L-beam, when a chain broke. It was unclear to the officers if the chain that broke struck Johnson (who was standing on the dust collector itself) in the head or if he sustained head trauma when he fell to the ground below.

According to the Medical Examiner’s report, preliminary information on the scene was that the men had been dismantling the dust collector in order to take it down. They had removed bolts, welding, and the catwalk attached to it. They had placed chains on all four coroners of the dust collector and had begun lowering it last night.

They had apparently lowered it 10 feet last night and left the dust collector hanging by four chains over night. On Sunday, they had lowered it about 10 feet before the chain broke.

An employee with Metal Technologies reported that S&S Technologies had been in Milwaukee for about a month dismantling equipment in the foundry.

The owner of S&S Technologies stated he has known Johnson for 25 years, and reported Johnson had worked for him for 11 or 12 years.

This case has been referred to OSHA for further investigation.

According to an OSHA investigator, Johnson should have been wearing a safety harness, because of a lack of a guard rail on one open side, where Johnson was standing.

Johnson lived in Michigan with a girlfriend and his daughter.