Bar fined $7,000 over Winona State student's tragic dumbwaiter death


A bar and restaurant has been fined $7,000 for a "serious violation" that led to the death of a Winona State University student whose head got caught in a dumbwaiter.

Brooke Baures, 21, was working at the WingDam Saloon and Grill in Fountain City, Wisconsin, on December 1 when she became entangled in the bar's food service elevator, with her body found a short time later.

The Associated Press reports that WingDam Saloon has been fined $7,000 by the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) for "failing to furnish a workplace free from recognized hazards that were likely to cause death or serious harm to employees."

WKBT reports that according to a letter sent by OSHA to WingDam Saloon, it said the employees "operated a dumbwaiter (food elevator) system that was not equipped with mechanical locks and electric contacts on the hoistway access door to prevent movement of the dumbwaiter car while employees reached into the car body envelope to load and unload materials.”

The TV station notes that the dumbwaiter was permanently removed on December 6, on the orders of the State of Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services.

Baures was a gymnast at Winona State University in Minnesota, where she was majoring in social work, and her tragic death prompted an outpouring of grief.

"She was a leader on the team and a talented gymnast," Winona State athletic director Eric Schoh said, according to the Winona Daily News. “This is a tremendous loss for our community."

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