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OSHA investigating maintenance worker death

The Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the death of a Rochester man who fell from a hotel roof last week while changing air filters.

Brentwood Inn and Suites
Brentwood Inn and Suites, where 58-year-old maintenance worker David Pelnar, of Rochester, fell to his death while changing filters on rooftop air conditioning units.
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The Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the death of a Rochester man who fell from a hotel roof last week while changing air filters.

Rochester police were called around 9:15 a.m. Friday for a report of a man who fell off the roof of the four-story Brentwood Inn & Suites, 123 Fourth Ave. NW, according to police.

The man, identified as 58-year-old Scott David Pelnar, of Rochester, was a maintenance worker at the hotel and had gone up to the roof to change filters on rooftop air conditioning units. He tripped near the edge of the roof and fell off the building, Lt. Mike Sadauskis said Monday morning. The incident was caught on surveillance footage.

"We are deeply saddened and shocked by the loss of our friend, colleague, someone we have known for many, many years," said Monte Luke, general manager of Brentwood Inn & Suites. Luke said that Pelnar had worked in maintenance at the hotel for more than 15 years.

Minnesota OSHA confirmed Monday that the agency was investigating Pelnar’s death.

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An employer has an obligation to notify OSHA within eight hours of a death, according to Jim Krueger, director of Minnesota OSHA.

While there is no timeline for how long an OSHA investigation can take, Krueger said his office tries to complete those investigations as quickly and efficiently as possible, "but we want to make sure we gather all the facts."

Once an investigation is complete, OSHA has six months to issue a citation.

Another workplace death occurred in Rochester on Feb. 16, according to the Minnesota OSHA Fatality Investigation Summary for fiscal year 2019, which was updated on March 26. In that instance, an employee of a framing contractor fell off a ladder. That case is still open.

Between Oct. 1, 2013, and Sept. 30, 2018, a total of 95 fatalities were investigated. Forty-one of those were a result of contact with equipment or an object. Twenty-eight of those fatalities were a result of a fall.

OHSA has regulations requiring guardrail systems, safety net systems, travel restraint systems, or personal fall arrest systems for low-slope roofs, depending on the distance an individual would be from the roof’s edge.

Pelnar served as a radar technician on F-16s stationed in Germany and stateside while in the U.S. Air Force and was honorably discharged, according to his obituary.

"He had a dry sense of humor and usually was up on all the latest technology and gadgets. Halloween was his favorite holiday and many at work enjoyed the creative costumes he wore. He loved animated movies and cartoons, enjoyed fishing, cooking and time spent at cabins," the obituary read.

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Pelnar

Related Topics: WORKPLACE
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