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Fatal construction injury was preventable -- companies cited

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health outline specific guidelines for working in confined spaces. Without the proper safety precautions, a fatal construction injury could occur. When that happens, Cal/OSHA comes in, conducts an investigation and determines whether any citations against one or more companies are appropriate.

Cal/OSHA recently completed an investigation regarding a death at a construction site last October. Reports indicate that a construction worker was sent down into a drainage shaft to clear out debris and mud. He was lowered 10 feet into the 4.5 foot diameter concrete shaft. At some point, he lost consciousness due to poor ventilation and lack of fresh air. He then plummeted 40 feet into a foot of water in which he drowned.

Cal/OSHA discovered that he was not wearing any personal fall protection equipment at the time. He obviously did not have an adequate air supply or access to fresh air during the operation either. Moreover, Cal/OSHA determined that no emergency protocols were in place to rescue the worker if something went wrong. Neither his employer nor the other company working on the residential project followed regulations regarding working in confined spaces.

Now, his family not only lost a loved one, but a source of income as well. In addition, they incurred expenses related to his funeral and burial. It may seem like a small consolation, but the family may have received, or will receive, benefits from the California workers' compensation system to help with these financial losses. Those who lose loved ones to a fatal construction injury may benefit from working with an attorney who can help them receive all the benefits to which they are entitled.

Source: ehstoday.com, "Cal/OSHA Cites Two Companies After Confined Space Death", Stefanie Valentic, May 10, 2017

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