Minnesota OSHA launches probe into death of Minnesota Power workerA state agency has launched its investigation into Friday’s apparent work-related death at a Minnesota Power facility under construction in Schroeder.
By: Candace Renalls, Duluth News Tribune
A state agency has launched its investigation into Friday’s apparent work-related death at a Minnesota Power facility under construction in Schroeder.
An investigator with the Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration was on the scene Tuesday to determine whether any workplace hazards contributed to the man’s death.
“We will be working with the employer on-site to piece together what happened,” said James Honerman, an OSHA spokesman.
The body of Kyle Damberg, a 23-year Minnesota Power employee, was found about 1:30 p.m. Friday at a maintenance building under construction near the company’s Taconite Harbor Energy Center in Schroeder.
According to the initial Cook County Sheriff’s Department “sudden death” report, a man who was at the site to pick up a machine found Damberg lying on the ground, unconscious and not breathing.
It was unknown what had happened, the report said.
Minnesota Power spokeswoman Amy Rutledge said Damberg was a valued employee who was there doing a status check on the project. No one witnessed what happened to him, she said.
Damberg, 47, of Duluth, was a designer in the company’s engineering services department. He worked on infrastructure construction projects throughout the company.
According to the sheriff’s report, the Tofte Rescue Squad and Cook County Ambulance went to the scene, but Damberg was already deceased. His body was transported to the local hospital by the Cook County Sheriff’s response unit.
An autopsy has been performed, but the results have not yet been released.
While the cause of death is under investigation, no foul play is suspected, according to the Cook County’s Sheriff’s Department.
Meanwhile, Minnesota Power has called the death a “tragic work site accident,” but company officials aren’t saying what may have caused it.
“We’re working with Minnesota Power to determine what events were going on at the work site, the scope of the activity and whether any safety and health training may have been given to employees,” Honerman said.
Minnesota Power, however, has a good track record with OSHA, Honerman said.
“They’ve been working with us for years to go beyond basic OSHA standards to prevent job-related illnesses and accidents at all their work sites,” Honerman said.
The company was the third of 40 companies in the state to win a MNSTAR award for workplace safety in the last decade, he said.