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Worker fatigue eyed in Minneapolis mall construction collapse

Businesses that engage in construction activity are frequently under real or perceived pressure to stay on time and on budget, and sometimes that pressure can lead to a job site environment that can imperil workers on the construction site as well as others.

For example, construction contractors are often subject to pressure to complete projects within specific time frames or under set costs. Especially in low-cost bidder contract awards, the need to make sure that the work is done as fast and as economically as possible can make the difference between profit and loss on the project.

A recent construction accident at a Minneapolis mall that fortunately appears not to have resulted in any injuries may have been caused by worker fatigue, according to the building owner. While there may not have been any injuries in this incident, the mall was evacuated.

The pressure to work quickly can lead construction companies to use as few workers as possible on a project, and to urge the workers they do use to work quickly or to work for long hours, either of which may impact the quality and safety of their work. These factors can lead to construction workers’ accidents.

In the Minneapolis mall incident, which involved construction of an additional floor to an existing structure, the exact cause of the accident has not been definitely established. The owner of the building indicated that the workers who were putting up the framing were perhaps tired from working late. This may have led them to make a mistake that caused the frame to collapse.

No government charges or other accusations of negligence or unsafe work conditions have yet been made while the investigation into the accident continues. However, the owner of the building has previously been in trouble with the law regarding construction services. He served time in jail for offering bribes to a former city council member.

While no one was injured in this case, the construction site accident represents the dangers construction workers face while performing their jobs. A building owner should not be putting those who work on his or her building at risk of a construction accident. Workers injured on a construction site may be entitled to compensation and may want to speak to an attorney to better understand their rights. 

Source: KARE11.com, "Construction collapse triggers mall evacuation," May 6, 2014

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