Work safety authorities have the ability to levy large monetary fines against an employer if they believe that work safety violations have been committed. Regulators are particularly concerned when a serious or fatal workplace accident occurs. When somebody dies in a workplace incident in California, an OSHA investigation will be initiated.
One employer is now facing an investigation by OSHA following a recent fatal construction accident in another state. Reportedly, one worker died, and three others were injured at the site located at a local school. The fatal victim was working on a lift at a structure at the site when the structure suddenly collapsed. Investigators have yet to determine exactly why the structure collapsed into a pile of rubble. As of now, no violations have been announced in reports released to the public by work safety officials, though investigations typically take up to six months.
The accident happened at approximately 7:40 a.m., less than an hour before classes were about to begin at the local school. The architectural firm which designed the structure believes that a pre-engineered frame may have given way. However, the firm maintains that it does not yet know what caused the structure to collapse. OSHA says the construction contracting company in charge of the work site has been fined in the past for safety violations.
Just because an employer has been cited for violations in the past does not mean that every subsequent accident is caused by safety violations. Even if an OSHA investigation does result in citations, the employer still has the right to defend itself against the accusations. In order to do so effectively, the construction company will need to be well-versed in the applicable safety guidelines. This will enable an employer in California to make the right decisions when responding to an OSHA investigation and addressing any citations issued by the federal agency.
Source: star-telegram.com, “OSHA investigating fatal construction accident in Argyle“, Mark David Smith and Mitch Mitchell, April 2, 2015