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OSHA issues fine after worker dies in Minnesota

An Illinois business has been fined after one of its employees died in an accident on the job near New Prague. The accident happened in August 2013 while Aldridge Electric worked on the CapX2020 electric transmission line. Two people fell into a hole that was made for the installation of a 140-foot power pole.

A 28-year-old Oklahoma man suffered head injuries and died. The second worker, a 37-year-old man, was also injured. He received treatment for his injuries and was released.

Online records show that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that Aldridge Electric did not have protection against falls and did not support or reinforce vertical structures to avoid collapse. The company was also cited for a violation relating to the modification of work equipment and tools.

According to Minnesota law, OSHA has to issue a minimum $25,000 fine for every violation that contributes to or causes the death of a worker. This means that Aldridge Electric faces a $75,000 fine in connection with the Minnesota death. The company is disputing the fine.

Minnesota workers' compensation law requires employers to provide insurance to every worker. The no-fault system provides coverage for necessary and reasonable medical care for injured workers. They may also receive benefits for the functional loss of or permanent damage to a body part.

If injured workers are unable to work while they are recovering, they could be entitled to wage loss benefits. Workers' compensation benefits might also include vocational rehabilitation services for workers who cannot return to their employers or pre-injury job. If workers die of a work-related injury, their spouses and dependents may receive death benefits. People suffering from a work-related injury may want to consult an attorney in order to review their options.

Source: KSFY, 'Worker killed in MN power line project," August 14, 2013

Source: Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry, 'Minnesota Workers' Compensation"

Source: KEYC, "OSHA fines company after last year's work-related fatality near New Prague, MN", Joel Runck, August 04, 2014

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