Federal regulators cited a North Dakota company for a serious safety violation in connection with the death of a 40-year-old crane operator at a wind farm near Elgin, Nebraska.

Wanzek Construction Inc., based in West Fargo, North Dakota, was issued one serious violation for exposing workers to “struck-by hazards,” according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The worker, who was not wearing a safety restraint, was killed on May 27 when he was operating a 90-ton rough terrain crane. It slipped into a ditch, overturned and crushed him as it rolled off an embankment, federal investigators concluded.

Arnold Jelinek, Wanzek’s vice president, said the company has been working with officials throughout the investigation “to understand the cause of the incident. We have received the citation,” said Jelinek, “and are reviewing it for the purpose of responding to it in accordance with applicable procedures.”

The accident occurred while the company was working on the Prairie Breeze Wind Energy Center for Invenergy, located near Elgin. A penalty of $7,000 was proposed.

— Janice Podsada

Werner chairman steps down, will be replaced by founder

Werner Enterprises said Wednesday Chairman Gary Werner has taken the position of vice chairman to spend more time with family. He will be replaced in that role by his father and company founder C.L. Werner, 77.

Greg Werner, brother of Gary Werner and son of C.L. Werner, relinquished his role as vice chairman. He continues as the Omaha-based trucking company’s chief executive.

All three Werners will continue as directors. The moves, Werner Enterprises said, have the “full support” of the Werner family and the company board.

— Russell Hubbard

Chamber conference aims to ‘inspire innovators’

Author and entrepreneur Seth Godin is among the speakers lined up for a new Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce event set for Oct. 8.

The Make/Happen conference is designed to “inspire innovators in our community,” said chamber President David Brown.

“As a CEO, I’d want my staff to leave with newfound focus, energy and optimism about their plan to make a difference in their lives or our business or in Omaha,” he said.

Godin, a popular blogger, recently was inducted into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame and has a best-selling book, “What To Do When It’s Your Turn.” Other speakers include Nicole Bianchi, president of Omaha-based Resolution Partners, and Fergus Hoban, CEO of Omaha-based Think Whole Person Healthcare.

The all-day Make/Happen event will be at the Holland Performing Arts Center from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event is open to the public, and there is a registration fee. For more information on the speakers and conference, go to Make-Happen.com.

— Cindy Gonzalez

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