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Minnesotans Remembering Those Killed in Work Zone Accidents

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April 27, 2012

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Workers who have been killed in construction zone accidents are among those being remembered in Minnesota this weekend at Workers' Memorial Day events.

Mike Lindholt, a road crew worker with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), says it's a dangerous job – and he can attest to that, having been hit twice while in his truck, during his career.

"We put our lives on the line every day. When you look at it, a lot of people come to their office and they have a little office, and a cubicle and like that. The side of the road, the highway there, with traffic zipping by you at 85 miles per hour – that's my office."

Since 1960, 33 Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) employees have been killed on the job, along with 13 private contractors. Lindholt says the best way that motorists can commemorate these lives lost is to use extra caution on the roads, especially in work zones.

"With construction gearing up like this, when things are getting underway, [there's] flashing lights and things get confusing. It gets dangerous out there - drivers texting, and on the phone, and all that. Just pay attention and slow down a little bit."

Those who have been killed will also be remembered at a number of Workers' Memorial Day events across the state. He says it's something MnDOT workers take very seriously.

"For us to pause and reflect. You know, we put our lives on the line every day in our jobs, to help out the motoring public. At 35W – we were the first ones there; the floods down south – and that's our job. That's what we do, and we're proud to do it and to prevent any further loss of life, if we can. That's our goal."

Ceremonies are being held today (Friday) in Golden Valley and St. Paul; and on Monday, in Duluth, Rochester and Apple Valley. AFSCME and the unions of the AFL-CIO observe Workers' Memorial Day each year around April 28, to remember those who have suffered and died on the job, and to renew the fight for safe workplaces.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN