California company cited after construction worker's death

Construction is big business in California, with new developments and renovations of old properties occupying a record number of contractors and laborers last year. Although this work is essential to the continuing growth of the state's economy, workplace safety around heavy equipment is even more important.

A construction company is facing major fines due to code violations after the death of a worker at a Laguna Beach multi-floor home under construction. California's Occupational Safety and Health Division (Cal-OSHA) cited the company 11 times, and only seven violations were corrected.

Six of these violations were described by Cal-OSHA as "serious." They included a lack of workers' stairways between floors, unsecured ladders and exposed bolts that could contribute to tripping. It is not known if any of these violations were involved in the death of the 60-year-old worker, who fell from the second level of the building.

The company plans to fight the fines, saying that some of the violations were normal for a construction project of its type, and that adaptions had been undertaken. The general manager of the site said he was unaware of one of the rules for which the site was not in compliance.

If negligence or noncompliance on a work site contributed to a workers' death, the survivors of the worker have the right to claim financial damages for any of the medical costs and final expenses related to the fatal incident. The survivors may also make a claim for any wages lost due to a life cut short. Learning about the best legal way forward to restitution can help grieving families find closure after a tragic workplace death.

Source: The Indy, "Inquiry into Worker’s Death Leads to Fines," Donna Furey, Jan. 13, 2018

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