Personal Injury

Minnesota Worker buried by trench collapse dies at hospital

trench ladder OSHA photo Minnesota Worker buried by trench collapse dies at hospitalOne of two Minnesota construction workers who were injured after being buried in a trench collapse Tuesday morning has died from his injuries.

According to The (Minneapolis) Star Tribune, Jimmy Scott, Klous, 48, was inside a trench at a construction site just west of Minneapolis in Minnetonka when the dirt walls gave way around 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Mr. Klous and another worker, identified as Tory Swan, who was also buried in the trench collapse, were digging a trench for a city project that involved replacing aging storm and sewer infrastructure and other improvements. Both men were working for Dave Perkins Contracting Inc., a company that has been cited previously for exposing workers to cave-in hazards.

The Star Tribune reported that Mr. Swan was buried up to his waist in the dirt while Mr. Klous was completely submerged for about 20 minutes. He was unresponsive by the time responders were able to pull him out. Mr. Klous died about an hour after arriving at Hennepin County Medical Center. The exact cause of his death remains under investigation.

Minnetonka police and officials from the Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are investigating. U.S. regulations require employers to report the workplace or work-related death of an employee to the federal OSHA within eight hours.

The Star Tribune reports that state OSHA records show the state cited Dave Perkins Contracting in 2010 for a serious violation for exposing a worker to “cave-in hazards while working in an excavation that was greater than 5 feet deep without an effective protection system.”

Excavation and trenching are among the most hazardous construction operations. Federal and state regulations require employers to take specific measures that will protect workers from deadly trench cave-ins, such as sloping the trench wall away from the excavation site, using trench boxes, installing supports to prevent soil movement, and the creating of safe access and exits with ladders, steps, and ramps.

The Star Tribune
U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration