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Medical Examiner identifies 58-year-old Milwaukee man killed in industrial accident

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) — The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office has identified a man killed in an industrial accident on Sunday, February 1st.

It happened around 10:00 a.m. at D.R. Diedrich & Company on W. Greves Street in Milwaukee — a company that manufactures tanned leather.

The man who died has been identified as 58-year-old Juan Gonzalez of Milwaukee. He was pronounced dead shortly before noon.

Gonzalez’ cause of death has been ruled an accident. He died as a result of blunt force trauma to his head.

The Medical Examiner’s report indicates Gonzalez became trapped in a piece of equipment he was working with at D.R. Diedrich & Company. The report says Gonzalez was working on the machine with his nephew — with Gonzalez working below the machine, while his nephew was working above on the platform of the machine. At one point, the nephew heard a grunt, and when Gonzalez didn’t answer, the nephew ran down to where Gonzalez was located and found him standing upright, wedged between the machine and a large metal cylinder. The cylinder was up against Gonzalez’ head, face and neck. Gonzalez was freed from underneath the machine when a mechanical lift was used to lift the cylinder up and away from him.

The report says it’s unclear what Gonzalez and his nephew were working on, as well as whether the machine needed repairs. It was not in use when the incident occurred, and Gonzalez was wearing a helmet.

The machine was identified as a flesher — used to separate the fat from the hide or free hides from manure. The cylinder was identified as a demanuring cylinder — connected to a large swing arm which has a bracket connected to it. Another bracket is located towards the rear of the machine, and this bracket connects to the bracket of the swing arm.

The Medical Examiner’s report says a preliminary investigation showed that a bolt that connects the two brackets somehow came apart — and the swing arm fell forward and down, and the demanuring cylinder fell with it. The cylinder appeared to have fallen on Gonzalez — pinning him against the machine.

OSHA was notified about this incident.

No further details have been released.