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Cal/OSHA levies fines for OSHA violations in 91 Freeway death

When an accident occurs on a construction site, it is not unusual for the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health to become involved in the investigation. That possibility is increased when the accident involves a worker's injury, and especially when there has been a death on the site.

In May 2014, a worker was killed in an accident on the 91 Freeway makeover project. The worker died after he fell more than 20 feet to the pavement when a bridge section collapsed. The Cal/OSHA investigation showed heavy equipment was being used for something outside its intended use, which contributed to the collapse. The report showed that the front-end loader was overloaded with too much weight.

One construction company overseeing the project has offices in Irvine in Orange County. It has been fined almost $55,000 in connection with four violations. A subcontractor working  on the project was also fined over $50,000 for seven violations.

The construction company plans to appeal the penalties, saying that the man who died was the subcontractor's employee and it should be held responsible for work being done when the worker was killed. One of the violations assessed against the the construction company was for failing to discuss the need for fall protection with the subcontractor.

Statistics from the federal OSHA agency show that about one-third of all construction-related fatalities are due to falls. Fortunately, most on-the-job injuries do not result in a worker's death. But many can have long-term consequences and even cause permanent disability. Just as Cal/OSHA can levy penalties on employers for unsafe working conditions, employers can also be held liable for workers' compensation claims when employees are injured.

OSHA guidelines can be complicated, and so can workers' compensation claims. Having the assistance of an attorney who helps injured employees to navigate workers' compensation claims can be crucial to the success of both financial and physical recovery.

Source: Orange County Register, "State: Death in 91 bridge collapse was result of safety violations," David Downey and Brian Rokos, Dec. 31, 2014

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Anaheim, CA 92807

Phone: 714-464-6903
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