A 60-year-old Caterpillar employee died Monday after sustaining “traumatic crushing injuries” in a workplace incident at the company’s South Milwaukee facility.
The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s office identified the employee as Steven E. Wade of Oak Creek. Wade was a welder and a 23-year employee of Caterpillar and Bucyrus International, according to Ross Winklbauer, a sub-district director with the United Steelworkers.
Caterpillar issued a statement May 10 confirming an employee in the weld shop area had been struck by a steel plate, causing serious injuries.
According to the medical examiner’s report, Wade received CPR for about 10 minutes after the incident before being transported to Froedtert Hospital. He sustained several rib fractures, collapsed lungs, spinal fractures and eventually developed seizures.
He died Monday at 4:05 p.m.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has opened an investigation into the incident. It is the only enforcement incident OSHA records show for the South Milwaukee facility in the last five years.
“We are deeply saddened by the death of our employee who was involved in an incident in our South Milwaukee facility on May 10,” Lisa Miller, a Caterpillar spokeswoman said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with this employee’s family, friends and co-workers. The company has arranged for counseling to be available to employees who may request it.”
“We strive each day to have a safe workspace for our employees, contractors and visitors,” the statement continued. “Caterpillar is a company firmly committed to protecting the health and safety of its employees at the South Milwaukee facility and at all Caterpillar facilities around the world.”
Wade’s funeral will be held Saturday at Heritage Funeral Home, 9200 S. 27th St. in Oak Creek with visitation from 9 a.m. to noon.
According to his obituary, Wade enjoyed spending time on his Harley, being with his grandchildren, boating and camping. His family asked that anyone attending his funeral who owns a motorcycle of any sort ride it to the funeral home in Wade’s honor. Memorials to the Humane Animal Welfare Society are appreciated in lieu of flowers.