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2 Companies Fined In Death Of U.S. Bank Construction Worker

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The death of a man working on the new Vikings Stadium has led to big fines against two of the companies building it.

Mortenson Construction and Berwald Roofing are facing a combined total of nearly $175,000 for safety violations.

The fines were handed down Wednesday after an investigation by the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA.

They are related to an accident that occurred last August, which left one man dead and another injured.

Investigators said 35-year-old Jeramie Gruber, of Faribault, slid down roofing and broke through a guardrail, falling more than 50 feet to his death. Another worker was seriously injured in the incident.

Both were employees of subcontractor Berwald Roofing of North St. Paul.

It is Berwald Roofing that faces the most serious fines. OSHA imposed nearly $140,000 in fines against Berwald for failing to use proper fall protection, and for other general safety violations.

Meanwhile, Mortenson Construction, the company leading the project, is facing a $34,000 fine for a "serious" safety violation.

Mortenson Construction released a statement Thursday morning, saying the company "continues to work with OSHA regarding a final determination relative to its citation."

"We were and remain deeply saddened by this terrible accident and understand how devastating it has been for all those affected by it, especially the families involved," the statement read in part. "At Mortenson, safety is a core value and we are committed to eliminating the risk of injury on all of our projects. We will never lose that focus and we will continue to ensure it is the foremost priority."

Berwald Roofing also released a statement.

"Berwald Roofing & Sheet Metal is continuing to cooperate and work with Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to reach a final determination of its findings into the August 26, 2015, incident."

Under general safety laws companies must do "frequent and regular inspections of the job sites, materials and equipment."

Online OSHA records show both Mortenson Construction and Berwald Roofing are contesting the fines.

Construction on the $1.1 billion stadium started in 2014 and is set to open this August.

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