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Construction workers' accidents: Fatality leads Cal/OSHA fines

The California Safety and Health Administration require owners of construction companies to identify potential safety hazards prior to commencing work on any project. Each identified safety risk must be addressed, and proper precautions must be taken to avoid construction workers' accidents. A Novato family could have been spared the trauma of losing a loved one had his employer complied with safety regulations.

Cal/OSHA completed its investigation into the accident and cited the construction company for three safety violations. The accident reportedly occurred in mid-April when workers were replacing a water pipe along Highway 101. Workers on the ground apparently directed a forklift driver to the spot at which he had to offload the 8,000-pound steel pipe he was transporting.

This took place on a slanted dirt road, and when the pipe was lowered, it rolled down the slope. A 28-year-old worker was directly in the path of the rolling pipe, and he was crushed when the pipe rolled over him. Cal/OSHA investigators found that the fatal accident would not have happened had the pipe been secured to the vehicle and barriers or chocks been put in place to prevent it from rolling. 

Although it will likely not ease the family's heartache, compensation for end-of-life expenses may be pursued. Most California workers are covered by workers' compensation, and when lives are lost in construction workers' accidents, death benefits may be claimed. The workers' compensation insurance fund typically covers funeral and burial costs, along with a lost income package -- based on the deceased worker's last recorded income -- for covered dependents.

Source: forconstructionpros.com, "Worker Crushed by Steel Pipe, Construction Company Cited for Safety Failures", July 16, 2015

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