Trenches are known to pose life-threatening safety hazards on construction sites nationwide, including Minnesota. While any construction site accident that involves a collapsed trench could cause fatalities, the skills of rescue teams have saved the lives of many construction workers. One such an incident recently occurred in Minneapolis.
Following an investigation into a fatal 2018 accident on Interstate 94 in Minnesota, a big rig driver is facing criminal vehicular homicide charges. A criminal complaint alleges that the trucker was distracted when he traveled through a construction zone. An accident resulted that claimed the life of one worker and caused injuries to another.
According to the Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the recent incident that claimed the life of a worker in St. Paul is the fourth fatal workplace accident so far this year. A spokesperson for the agency says an investigation was launched on the day following the accident. Reportedly, struck-by accidents are the most common cause of occupational fatalities in Minnesota.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reminds all the role players in the construction industry of the importance of trench and excavation safety by organizing a stand down during June each year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says, despite these efforts, a significant number of fatalities and construction site injuries are caused by cave-ins in Minnesota and across the country each year. The week of June 17 to 21 will be dedicated to trench safety this year.
Employers in all industries in Minnesota are responsible for the health and safety of their employees. Working at heights is not only dangerous on construction sites but also in sectors like oil and gas extraction, aviation, shipping operations and infrastructure workers in energy and telecommunication facilities. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes strict safety guidelines, and compliance can prevent injuries.