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Continued: Falling concrete kills worker at new St. Paul ballpark site

Investigators with Minnesota OSHA on Tuesday began reviewing factors that might have caused or contributed to the accident and whether state safety standards had been violated, spokesman James Honerman said.

In the past five years, Rachel Contracting was inspected once, in July 2010, and no citations were issued, Honerman said. Ryan has been inspected numerous times in the last five years, but OSHA records show that no safety violations were found.

Since 2008, Minnesota OSHA has investigated 23 workplace fatalities where the victim was crushed and 12 fatalities where the victim was struck. From 2008 to 2012, construction accidents accounted for 28 percent of workplace fatalities that Minnesota OSHA investigated.

There were 70 worksite fatalities in Minnesota in 2012, an increase of 10 from last year but matching the number in 2010, according to preliminary data released last week by the state Department of Labor and Industry. Many did not require an investigation.

The Saints’ $63 million ballpark is scheduled to be ready for the start of the 2015 season. The 7,000-seat site is expected to annually host more than 100 youth, amateur and college events in addition to 50 games for the minor league team.

The Saints, in a statement, said, in part: “There is profound sadness in the St. Paul Saints organization today.”


Staff writer Kevin Duchschere contributed to this story. 612-710-5367 • 612-673-4482


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  • Tuesday’s accident happened on the site of the former Gillette/Diamond Products factory near Broadway and 5th streets in St. Paul’s Lowertown area. Construction crews have been doing excavation work since July in preparation for the St. Paul Saints’ new $63 million ballpark.

  • Johnny Valek, 61, of Plymouth, had called it a “tough job.”

  • Randy Valek said his brother, victim Johnny Valek, had recently taken a cellphone video to show how the thick walls and heavy concrete made his job difficult. He also said the family wants to “focus on honoring his legacy.”

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