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Northern California worker dies in equipment collapse at jobsite

Co-workers are mourning the death of a 31-year man who died as a result of injuries he suffered when a conveyor system at a worksite collapsed on him.

The man, who lived in Fairfield, California, was working at a jobsite along the Petaluma River. Kayakers in the river called for help and reported that they watched as a metal tower fell and heard someone scream.

When emergency crews arrived, they found the man atop an unused silo, trapped under the conveyor system. He had used a torch to try to take apart the casing around the conveyor’s motor, but it collapsed on him.

Authorities said he suffered significant chest injuries.

Firefights made a valiant effort to try to save the man, pulling the wreckage off of him and getting him down a ladder from the silo, a journey of about 35 feet.

The incident is being investigated by the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal-OSHA) to determine what workplace safety laws could have been violated. OSHA staff also will seek to learn whether the man had the proper training to do the work he was doing and whether his company had checked to see if the area was a safe location to work.

“He’s loved and respected by us and his coworkers, and they’re all suffering, too, right now,” the company president said. “The only two concerns we have are the welfare of his family and finding out what happened and how it happened. We’re doing everything we can to investigate and cooperate with OSHA. That’s what we can do right now and we’ll do anything we can for the family.”

It is comforting that company officials want to help the man’s family but before accepting any assistance or settlement, his family should consult with an attorney to ensure their legal rights are protected.