Contractor fined $51,650 for fatal accident at St. Paul ballpark site

  • Article by: NICOLE NORFLEET , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 3, 2014 - 5:25 AM

Plymouth man was killed Sept. 10 when concrete slab fell on his excavator.

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Emergency crews were at the scene in Lowertown last September after a worker was killed. Johnny Valek, 61, was an employee of Rachel Contracting. The company has contested the fine.

Photo: File photo by Richard Sennott • Richard.Sennott@startribune.com,

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A construction company working on the new Saints ballpark in downtown St. Paul is contesting fines for serious safety violations after one of its workers was killed at the site last fall.

Rachel Contracting, of St. Michael, Minn., was cited by the Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in February for three penalties and fined $51,650 relating to the Sept. 10 death of Johnny Valek, according to OSHA records.

The company contested the violations last month.

Valek, 61, of Plymouth, was an employee of Rachel Contracting. The company was doing excavation work at the site as a subcontractor for Ryan Companies, which is overseeing the design and construction of the 7,000-seat ballpark.

Valek was killed when a 10-by-30-foot concrete portion of the building fell on the cab of his excavator.

OSHA investigators cited Rachel Contracting for violating a regulation that requires someone to continually inspect work during demolition to “detect hazards resulting from weakened or deteriorated floors, or walls, or loosened material.”

It also said Rachel violated a regulation stipulating that structural members on any floor not be cut or removed until all stories above it have been removed.

The company also violated a regulation that required an engineering survey prior to the start of demolition to determine the condition of the framing, floors, and walls, and the potential of an unplanned collapse.

A representative from Rachel could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.

 

Nicole Norfleet • 612-673-4495

Twitter: @stribnorfleet

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