A Minnesota company faces a total of $106,600 in penalties for five citations filed by the state Occupational Safety and Health Division (OSHA) last week, following the death of two storm sewer workers, theStar Tribune (Minn.)reports.
Two of the citations issued to Lametti & Sons Inc., of Hugo, Minn., are willful violations, the stiffest in the OSHA hierarchy, and each would carry a penalty of $50,000.
With water rising from a sudden downpour, eight storm sewer workers rushed to the sewer shaft at Avon St. and Edmund Ave. in St. Paul last July 26, only to have the slow pace of the crane-and-hoist system there send six scrambling for another escape route.
Dave Yasis, 23, and Joe Harlow, 34, would be swept to their deaths, and the state OSHA says the failure of that initial escape route contributed to their deaths.
Lametti is contesting all five citations, according to the
Yasis and Harlow died when a mid-afternoon downpour carried them from the tunnels in the city's Frogtown area into the Mississippi River. They had been among six workers who gave up waiting for the hoist system in the Avon shaft, rushing instead for a ladder more than two blocks away.
Four employees made it up safely, and then noticed their two coworkers were missing.
The two willful violations alleged against Lametti say that it failed to instruct workers "in the recognition and avoidance of hazards associated with underground construction activities" and failed to "provide and maintain safe means of access and egress to all work stations," according to the state OSHA.
Employer fined in sewer workers' deaths (2/25)
February 25, 2008