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Debris kills worker in St. Paul stadium construction accident

Over the last several years, it seems as though there is a continuous string of stadium construction in the Twin Cities. The current project is for the St. Paul Saints, which is expected to be completed in 2015. Recently, however, a tragic workplace accident has overshadowed the excitement of bringing baseball to Lowertown.

Reports say that a 61-year-old construction worker from Plymouth, Minnesota, was operating a backhoe when a large piece of concrete fell on him and claimed his life. It took nearly five hours for crews to reach the worker and remove his body from the scene, due to the rough terrain at the site.

In a statement, the construction company in charge of the project said they make safety a very high priority. Yet the worker had made comments to his friends and family that this was one of the most difficult projects he'd ever worked on. The worker even told a friend that he worried about the concrete walls collapsing. At the time of the construction accident, crews were demolishing existing structures to make way for the new stadium.

The worker's family members are searching for answers as they work through their grief. Typically, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducts investigations after fatal accidents, so there may eventually be more clarity in this situation.

As is often the case, the construction worker involved in this accident was a subcontractor hired by the primary construction company. This type of employment arrangement can create complications for injured employees or their loved ones. However, it may be possible to pursue a third-party claim, in addition to workers' compensation, if negligence contributed to the accident.

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune, "Falling concrete kills worker at new St. Paul ballpark site," Nicole Norfleet and Paul Walsh, Sept. 11, 2013

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