A Green Bay tire service company faces a fine of $14,502 after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration found it failed to properly train an Abbotsford employee who died servicing tire rims.
Cody Weinke, 28, of Perkinstown died July 28 when a tire he was mounting came loose and fell on him. Less than a month later, a worker in Minnesota died the same way. Both workers were employed by Pomp’s Tire Service, which is based in Green Bay and has about 200 locations across the Midwest.
According to OSHA, there have been five worker deaths in the Midwest in the last five years in similar instances. The agency cited Pomp’s with a serious violation of standards for its training in the case. In a statement, Pomp’s regional vice president Kevin Orthober said the company “respectfully disagrees with the allegations” by OSHA and that “safety is a top priority throughout our company.” Orthober did not directly address a question about whether the company will contest the citation but said Pomp’s “intend(s) to continue working cooperatively with OSHA toward a reasonable resolution.”
It’s not the first time in recent years that Pomp’s Tire Service has faced fines for what safety inspectors called insufficient training. OSHA records show complaints against Pomp’s sites in Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri since 2018, including the following serious violations:
- Records show that in 2018, a technician at a Missouri Pomp’s branch had his middle finger crushed when he was attempting to press together components of a tire. OSHA recommended a fine of $7,391; the company contested the penalty and a judge in 2019 reduced the fine to $5,174.
- In 2019, an Indiana branch of Pomp’s was fined $14,475 after a worker reportedly asphyxiated in a workplace accident.
- In 2020, records show that a Nebraska branch received fines of $24,000 after inspectors faulted its standards for operators of industrial trucks.
In a statement, OSHA area director Robert Bonack said the five recent deaths of Midwestern workers as they serviced vehicle rims or wheels “could have been prevented if the employer took the necessary steps to protect their employees.”
According to his obituary, Weinke grew up in Rib Lake. He was engaged to be married and had two young daughters.
The death of the Minnesota Pomp’s worker remains under investigation.