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Construction workers' accidents: Death results in fines from OHSA

An investigation of a recent tragedy has been underway at a construction site in California. As it does with many construction workers' accidents, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has conducted its own investigation. After their findings, they have issued fines of $27,000 to the two companies involved in the accident.

The injured 56-year-old man was employed by one of the construction companies and was working in an area that was coordinated with a subcontracting company. The subcontracting company was responsible for drill rigging operations. At some point, a valve ruptured in a large pipe, and a significant volume of debris exploded. No one witnessed the employee's injuries, as the other employee in the area had turned away to use the restroom. The injured worker was found on the ground with a large chest wound.

Once site management and emergency services were called, life-saving measures were attempted, but the man did not survive his injuries. Neither company claims responsibility in the accident stating the reasons for the explosion are unknown. A witness stated that a hose may have been turned to the off position, resulting in the explosion of the pipe. Both companies have appealed OHSA's fines and citations.

As in this incident, construction workers' accidents can result in serious injury and death. When death occurs, the family that is left behind must cope with the expected grief and the loss of the victim's financial support. Families in these circumstances are typically entitled to workers' compensation death benefits. Because the claims process can be confusing, many families find the assistance of a California employment lawyer helpful during such an emotional and stressful time. In addition, attorneys can explore whether grounds exist for additional claims for damages outside of the workers' comp system. 

Source:, "OSHA: Construction Companies Fined Nearly $30,000 in Fatal Construction Accident", Jamie Reis, Dec. 21, 2017

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