A backhoe operator drowned while clearing a logjam in a swollen river. An airplane's wheel well doors closed on a maintenance worker. A logger was crushed by the tree he had just cut down.
These are among the nine Minnesota workplace fatalities that led to citations in 2011 after they were investigated by the Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration, according to reports by MNOSHA.
The agency inspects most non-federal workplaces. In general, an employer is fined at least $25,000 for violations that result in a death. Fines may be contested and reduced for small companies with an otherwise good safety record, for cases in which the victim owned or held a controlling interest in the business, or for other mitigating factors.
MNOSHA redacts personal information from its reports, but some victims were named in news reports.