GOODHUE COUNTY, Minn. — A 37-year-old man tragically died in a workplace accident at the Sustane Natural Fertilizer facility in Canyon Falls.
Local police responded to the facility about 6 a.m., where the worker was pulled into equipment and found unresponsive. He was later pronounced dead at the scene.
Authorities have not detailed how the accident occurred or what caused it, though the Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration opened an ongoing investigation.
Commentary on Fatal Workplace Accidents in Minnesota
This workplace accident will cause considerable pain in the lives of many. I am sure the family is searching for answers in the wake of their tragic loss. In time, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will conduct a timely and thorough review and determine precisely what went wrong. Until then, I extend my deepest sympathy to the deceased’s family.
The employer’s acts will likely come under scrutiny during OSHA's investigation. While most of these accidents are caused by an employee’s lapse in judgment, the employer is responsible for taking every precaution possible to protect victims from accidents in dangerous situations. In my experience, culture is one of the primary roles employers fail when seeking to implement a safe work environment. Today, most employers have pages of rules and regulations designed to prevent injury and death. However, without a culture of safety, these rules and regulations are nothing more than words on a page.
Did this employer offer frequent and comprehensive safety training? Did management comply with safety regulations? Did mid-level management correct safety concerns or let them slide? Were proper safety measures adhered to? Answering these questions will help investigators determine if Sustane Natural Fertilizer took employee safety seriously, or if safety was nothing more than words on a page.
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