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OSHA investigating death of Fargo electrician struck by falling object near Harvey

BISMARCK - Federal workplace safety officials are investigating an Oct. 7 accident that killed a Fargo electrician at a grain elevator near Harvey in central North Dakota.

A crew was installing a distributor unit that was suspended from a crane when a section of metal chute broke free from the unit and fell about 120 feet, landing on 21-year-old Alex Rall as he was leaving work for the day, according to Eric Brooks, area director for the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration.

Rall, who was employed by Hope Electric Inc., was pronounced dead at the scene. The accident happened at Prairie Towers Elevator about two miles east of Harvey along U.S. Highway 52.

The state medical examiner conducted an autopsy and determined Rall's death was accidental, caused by blunt impact injuries to the head, chest, abdomen and pelvis, Wells County Sheriff's Deputy Travis Tesch said.

Brooks said OSHA was told the section of chute weighed approximately 250 to 300 pounds.

An OSHA compliance officer visited the worksite the day after the accident, Brooks said. Most OSHA workers were furloughed during the recent government shutdown, but the Bismarck office had staff available to respond in the event of a fatality, he said.

The investigation is ongoing, and no citations have been issued, he said.