A 35-year-old construction worker died on Wednesday when he fell 50 feet from the roof of the unfinished Minnesota Vikings stadium less than an hour after he and 1,200 other crew members started their morning shift.
A second roofer was injured as well and is in stable condition at a nearby hospital. An executive of Mortenson Construction, the general contractor on the 65,000-seat U.S. Bank Stadium, said an investigation will reveal what caused the two men to fall, whether anybody witnessed the accident, and if the workers were wearing safety harnesses, which are required for roof work.
The executive said the two roofers were doing a routine installation. Local media have identified the deceased worker as Jeramie M. Gruber of Northfield, MN, an employee of St. Paul-based Berwald Roofing Co., which has a $3.4 million contract for stadium work.
Berwald has been cited nine times for serious violations on other jobs and has paid fines of more than $12,500, according to a StarTribune review of public records.
Most of the violations involved injuries to roofers who were not wearing safety harnesses or protected from falls by guardrails, the newspaper reported.
Gruber is the first casualty at the $1.1 billion construction site. But two workers died during construction of the San Francisco 49ers’ Santa Clara, CA, stadium in 2013. One fell in an elevator shaft, and the other was crushed by a bundle of rebar that fell on him as he unloaded it.
The accident shut down work for the day at the construction site.