I-35W bridge replacement: On Aug. 1, 2007, the I-35W bridge collapsed into the Mississippi River in Minneapolis.
On Oct. 15, 2007, Flatiron-Manson Joint Venture (FMJV) broke ground on the $234 million replacement bridge
and surrounding area. The contract included reconstruction of the main span over the Mississippi River and four
other spans over roads and railroad tracks. FMJV's projected completion time was 437 days.
The rebuild design was cement box girder construction with a cantilever over the Mississippi River. The main span
was 504 feet between piers and between 70-120 feet above the ground or water. Traffic flows along five lanes in
each direction. FMJV opened the bridge on Sept. 18, 2008, about 100 days early. FMJV, the Minnesota Department
of Transportation, and MNOSHA signed their partnership in November 2007. Work continued through
Minnesota OSHA officials conduct a compliance assistance audit under the
new I-35W bridge spans in June 2008. Nearly 100 audits were conducted
at the site from the bridge's collapse in August 2007 to its completion in October 2008.
Audits – Two MNOSHA investigators were assigned to the I-35W bridge reconstruction project
and were required to complete at least two audits per week. All audits included at least one
FMJV safety person, an MNOSHA representative, and usually one person from the Minnesota
Department of Transportation. Audits were documented by FMJV and Minnesota Department of
Transportation. There were more than 115 audits performed during the 11 months of the project
(MNOSHA performed about three audits per week). During the height of construction (February
through July) each audit covered as many as 300 FMJV employees and 30 subcontractors. FMJV,
Minnesota Department of Transportation, and MNOSHA identified and corrected more than 500
Results – The partnership between FMJV, Minnesota Department of Transportation, and MNOSHA
provided open communication among all parties. MNOSHA staff performed on-site outreach
when needed by any of the 50 subcontractors, FMJV, or Minnesota Department of Transportation.
The partnership allowed FMJV to oversee safety on site without incurring penalties, litigation, and other costs
associated with traditional enforcement. The audit process gave employees hands-on experience with MNOSHA
and gave MNOSHA the opportunity to answer employees' questions regarding their safety. Audits also allowed
hazards to be corrected when they were found, eliminating any abatement period. Summarizing more than
720,000 hours worked:
- Worker fatalities: 0
- Lost-time cases: 1
- Recordable incidents: 37
Safety representatives conduct a walk-around to review construction activity and address worksite hazards at the new Target Field in Minneapolis.
Inspections: In 2008, MNOSHA conducted inspections under 15 local and national emphasis programs. MNOSHA
focuses inspections on workplaces with high injury and illness rates, which are determined by the federal data
initiative, workers' compensation information, and data obtained from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Other emphasis-programs with significant inspection activity include OSHA-observed imminent danger situations
and activity-generated inspections in construction. Seventy-five percent of MNOSHA's 2,174 programmed inspections
were in emphasis program areas and 72 percent of the inspections resulted in citations.
Petra Development Services: MNOSHA prevailed in a hearing before the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH)
in which OAH upheld MNOSHA's willful citations for Petra Development Service's violations of
29 CFR 1926.850 (a) and (b).
In addition, OAH upheld MNOSHA's determination that the willful violations caused or contributed to
the death of an employee. Minnesota Statutes
182.666, subd. 2a, requires non-negotiable minimum penalties of
$50,000 when a willful violation causes or contributes to the death of an employee.
Brent Anderson Associates, Inc.: In a hearing before the Office of Administrative Hearings on summary disposition, OAH upheld MNOSHA's determination that a Brent Anderson employee was working on a walking/working
surface (a balcony) on a residential construction project covered under
29 CFR 1926.501(b)(1). Brent Anderson
29 CFR 1926.501(b)(10) applied because the employee was doing roofing work on a low-slope roof
less than 50 feet in width. The hearing judge concluded the employee was not working on a low-slope roof but on
a surface inset into the side of the building.
Construction Breakfast seminars: During federal fiscal year 2008, MNOSHA continued its tradition of the
Construction Breakfast seminar, which features a full breakfast with a one-hour presentation every other month,
September through May. Recent programs included:
- Health standards in construction, November 2007
- Swing-stage scaffolds, January 2008
- Ladder safety and fatal-serious-injury statistics, March 2008
- Panel discussion on various topics, May 2008
- Simultaneous operations on a construction worksite, September 2008
- Speakers included MNOSHA staff, equipment vendors, and contractors.
The OSHA perspective: The MNOSHA Compliance unit contributes an OSHA perspective to the outreach of
several nonprofit organizations:
- Minnesota Safety Council and its OSHA Outreach Training Program
- University of Minnesota Extension Service, Onsite Sewage Treatment Program
- University of Minnesota, Midwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety, and its
Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) training program
I-35W bridge recovery: The successful I-35W bridge recovery and rebuild partnerships have resulted in several
opportunities to share the story. Presentations were given to variety of organizations, including the federal OSHA
Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health, Virginia OSHA Consultation, and the Minnesota Department
of Public Safety, Homeland Security, and Emergency Management Division. MNOSHA Compliance used the
opportunity to exhibit at the 2008 American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition (AIHCE) in Minneapolis
in June 2008.
Combustible-dust seminars: MNOSHA recently presented three statewide seminars designed to assist employers
in complying with the requirements of the combustible-dust national emphasis program. Participants learned
key steps in developing a plan to minimize the risk of dust explosions. Learning modules included how MNOSHA
Compliance investigators test for and identify hazardous qualities of dust, an overview of proper equipment for
areas containing combustible dust, and OSHA and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards.
MNOSHA conducts frequent audits at the University of Minnesota's new TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. The site achieved SHARP certification with the assistance of MNOSHA consultants.
I-35W bridge: MNOSHA's most notable partnerships were those formed as a result of the I-35W bridge collapse.
First was the agreement between MNOSHA Compliance, MNOSHA Workplace Safety Consultation (WSC),
Minnesota Department of Transportation (MN/DOT), and the general contractor, Carl Bolander and Sons,
during the demolition and removal of the collapsed bridge. The goal of the partnership was to remove
the wreckage without further loss of life or serious injury. Key components to the agreement were daily
on-site safety project plans, safety assessment sheets for hazard identification, and mandatory employee
orientation training. The bridge was removed without a single lost-time injury during the 100,000 hours
The second partnership involved rebuilding the bridge and included MNOSHA, Minnesota DOT, and the
general contractor, Flatiron-Manson, A Joint Venture. MNOSHA provided two investigators for compliance
assistance. Other facets of the project included daily job hazard analyses, safety inspections, and monthly
Outdoor football stadium: The University of Minnesota's new outdoor football stadium project was recognized
by MNOSHA Workplace Safety Consultation as a Minnesota Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program
(MNSHARP) construction worksite on Nov. 24, 2008. M.A. Mortenson was recognized for excellence in safety
management as the general contractor. Since construction began in July 2007, 830,000 work hours were logged
with no days lost to injuries. At the height of construction, 740 workers were on site daily.
Other partnerships: MNOSHA also maintains its partnerships with the Associated General Contractors of
Minnesota (AGC) and the Associated Builders and Contractors of Minnesota (ABC). There are currently
15 employers participating in the AGC agreement and 14 in the ABC agreement.