Gas Explosion - Inadequate Training

Robert Edwards Dec. 17, 2019

Last Wednesday the Minneapolis Star Tribune published an article concerning the 2017 natural gas explosion at Minnehaha Academy which killed 2 people and injured several others. The National Transportation Safety Board completed its investigation and released its findings last Monday. Among those were: 1) the two-person crew's foreman lacked the proper licensing and training to work on the covered tasks associated with moving the utility company's meters. 2) the contract helper, who turned out to be the foreman's son, lacked any training for pipe it or work, failed to complete the required CenterPoint Energy qualifications program and had just 8 months' tenure on the job at the time of the explosion. The findings went on to conclude that "The probable cause of the natural gas explosion occurred when a pipefitting crew disassembled piping upstream of a gas service meter that was off-limits to the workers."Last July several lawsuits alleging negligence were filed in Hennepin County District Court against CenterPoint and the subcontractor (Master Mechanical, Inc./MMI). No doubt these official Government findings will assist the victims in getting fair compensation for their injuries. The larger lesson to be learned from this case is that an injured person needs a competent personal injury lawyer to investigate every possible angle when an unnecessary injury or death occurs. Negligent credentialing or negligent training on the part of an employer is a recognized cause of action in Minnesota. This case shows exactly why such a cause of action is necessary.