Violating Safety Regulations Costs Minnesota Employers Millions in Steep Fines (Aaron A. Dean quoted)


Construction law attorney Aaron Dean, a member of Moss & Barnett's litigation team, was quoted in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal article, "Violating Safety Regulations Costs Minnesota Employers Millions in Steep Fines" (June 15, 2017). Excepts from that article appear below.

American Crystal Sugar isn’t the only employer where company officials felt that way about Minnesota OSHA. Aaron Dean, an attorney who has represented companies in dozens of lawsuits contesting fines, agreed that communication can be poor and also grumbled that responsibility should be on workers in some cases, since companies can only train and educate employees so much – and then it’s up to them.

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“I think there’s a lot of contractors who did nothing wrong [but] pay the fine to avoid the distraction,” said Aaron Dean, an attorney for Minneapolis-based Moss & Barnett who represents construction companies over OSHA disputes. “And that’s really unfortunate. Paying the fine to avoid the fight just causes a bigger fight in the future.”

Dean has represented Maple Lake-based LaTour Construction, which paid more than $27,000 in OSHA fines, down from $53,000 it was originally fined on closed cases from 2012 through 2016.

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While companies in Minnesota are still annually paying more than $1 million in fines, everyone the Business Journal talked to agreed that worker safety conditions have improved, sometimes dramatically, compared to a few decades ago. Most think that companies, workers, labor unions and OSHA are all working together to create safer work environments. Plus, it’s just good business to keep employees safe.

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