Ensuring the safety of workers is typically a top priority for any employer in California. However, there are times that workplace accidents happen despite an employer’s best efforts. This is unfortunate for the injured worker as well as the employer, especially if work safety violations result in the need for launching an employer defense.
This is what happened to one construction company after a workplace accident that resulted in the death of one worker in April. The construction company was fined $38,250 recently for the incident. Apparently, a pipe had somehow crushed a worker to death. The construction crews were working at a construction site close to the highway, according to the latest reports from work safety officials.
The California Division of Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) claims that the company, Maggiora & Ghilotti, failed to properly plan and prepare for transporting the large pipe which was 40 feet long and weighed 8,000 pounds. Authorities believe the death could have been avoided if the employer had taken the proper safety measures. By allegedly not taking these safety precautions, Cal/OSHA claims that the construction company was in violation of safety rules and regulations.
However, despite these allegations from Cal/OSHA, the construction company still has the right to an employer defense in California. It is possible to appeal the citations via the proper legal channels, though there are time constraints that must be honored in responding to the issuance of formal citations. With the proper evidence to back up the employer’s legal defense strategy, the citations may be withdrawn completely or the monetary fine may be reduced.
Source: sfgate.com, “$38,000 fine over Highway 101 worker crushed by pipe“, Vivian Ho, July 15, 2015