A recent report issued by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health is an example of noncompliance with prescribed safety standards. Too many preventable construction workers accidents cause severe or fatal injuries. Cal/OSHA has completed its inquiry into an incident that claimed a life in San Rafael last September.
Reportedly, the accident happened when one member of a two-person construction crew went to fetch a plywood sheet that was required for the installation of a third-floor shear wall. Investigators determined that 26 sheets of plywood were in a vertical stack, leaning against a wall. When the worker failed to return after 20 minutes, a supervisor discovered his crushed body underneath the sheets of plywood, which had fallen over.
Along with the insecure vertical stacking of plywood, other safety violations included an unguarded floor opening on the second story, exposed reinforcing steel that posed impalement hazards, and the lack of fall protection for workers at heights exceeding 15 feet. Several other general hazards existed, indicating the job site hazards were not evaluated and addressed. Inspectors say the required permits for the construction project was not in place.
Although this company's workers may be safer in the future, the fine will bring no relief for the deceased man's surviving family members. Fortunately, the California workers' compensation insurance system is there to provide financial assistance. An attorney with experience in this field can help family members of those who died in construction workers accidents to navigate the claims process. The state-regulated insurance program typically pays compensation to cover funeral and burial expenses along with a financial package to make up for lost wages.