Trench collapse kills worker near Minneapolis

The scene of the trench collapse is seen in a still from WCCO TV footage.The scene of the trench collapse is seen in a still from WCCO TV footage.

Another trench accident claimed the life of a construction worker, this one occurring near Minneapolis.

According to a report from the St. Paul Pioneer Press, 51-year-old Gerald Lyle Thompson was killed June 23 in a trench collapse in Lakeville. The paper reports Thompson was installing drain tile when the trench collapsed.

WCCO TV reports Thompson and his brother Dennis were using a backhoe to dig the 6- to 8-foot trench, though an excavator is seen in footage from the scene. Dennis and other DSM Excavating co-workers attempted to free Thompson from the trench but as they did, the collapse only worsened. Thompson was pronounced dead at the scene.

Lakeville police and the Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating the incident. The Pioneer Press reports DSM Excavating was cited once before for inadequate trench protections when an “inspection found an employee working in a trench without adequate cave-in protection and without a ladder for quick exit.”

The Lakeville collapse was one of four fatal trench accidents to occur during June. Trench collapses in Kentucky and Alaska claimed the lives of workers and another worker in Connecticut was killed when a saw kicked back while he was cutting a water main.