Construction worker buried in Minnetonka trench collapse dies

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A man has died from his injuries after he and another construction worker were buried when the trench they were working in collapsed in Minnetonka Monday morning.

The worker, identified as 48-year-old Jimmy Klous of Onamia, Minnesota, died on Tuesday morning, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner confirmed.

Klous was working on a road reconstruction project at 1900 Oakland Road, and was in the trench with another worker when it collapsed. The other worker was buried up to his waist, but Klous was completely buried alive and found unresponsive after being rescued by the Minnetonka Fire Department, according to a press release.

Klous was brought to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he passed away at around 11:15 a.m.

Dave Perkins Contracting

Klous was working for Dave Perkins Contracting, the lead firm on the project. OSHA records show that the company has had two safety violations in 2010 in Ramsey, Minnesota. Both were related to trench safety to prevent cave ins. The company was fined $1,050.

The owner of Dave Perkins Contracting told FOX 9 that he doesn't remember those violations.

The company also told FOX 9 that Klous had only been on the job for three days.

Trench Safety

Trench collapses cause hundreds of injuries and dozens of deaths every year, according to OSHA.

A trench safety fact sheet posted by OSHA instructs workers not to enter a trench without proper supports. All trenches deeper than five feet require supports unless cut into solid rock. OSHA standards also require that the trench be inspected daily.

It is currently unclear whether or not the trench Klous was working in had proper supports.

The Department of Labor and Industry is investigating the incident.

How dangerous is construction?

There were seven construction-related deaths in Minnesota in 2014, according to the latest available yearly data from the Occupation Health and Safety Administration.

Four of those deaths involved slips or falls. Those seven are out of 899 private construction related fatal injuries nationwide in 2014, making private construction the occupation with the highest number of injuries.

Private agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting sector had the highest fatal work injury rate. In total there were 4,386 worker fatalities in 2014, according to OSHA.

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