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California construction company may need employer defense

When a business is accused of violating safety or health regulations, management may choose to fight the accusations. In this type of situation, an employer defense may help to protect a company's assets. A California construction company that was recently cited for violations after two employees lost their lives while on a job site may be seeking to defend itself. 

The tragic accident took place when two construction workers plummeted to the ground from a platform held 80 feet in the air by a crane. The construction company was working on a bridge when a cable broke on a pile driver crane the workers were using. An additional crane was then used to lift two men 80 feet into the air to inspect the problem. Unfortunately, the rigging attaching the platform to the second crane failed, resulting in the platform and the men on it falling to the ground.

The Cal/OSHA investigation findings claim that the crane used to suspend the platform lacked certification and had not been inspected before use. In addition, the investigators report that the operator did not make a trial run, nor did he or she have the rigging inspected. The construction company is also accused of not having proper personnel to provide signaling during the crane lift.

The California construction company was cited over $100,000 as a result of the investigation claiming that the construction company violated regulations through failure to inspect safety conditions and by not providing safeguards that are required for this type of work. The company may look to an employer defense if its management chooses to appeal the citation. Businesses, like individuals, retain the right to defend themselves against any accusations they face.

Source: forconstructionpros.com, "Contractor Cited After Crane Accident Causes Two Fatalities", Nov. 21, 2014

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