On the heels of four recent fatal work related accidents that happened on four consecutive days in May 2014, state regulators have disclosed intent to implement closer safety compliance oversight at San Francisco Bay Area construction sites.
In response to the quadruple deaths, including two coinciding fatalities on the same day, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health revealed plans to dispatch safety inspection teams throughout the Bay.
Elevated Height Enhances Chances of Work Related Accidents
A primary area targeted for heightened scrutiny is high-level work zone safety. State inspectors will also be responsible for evaluating trench and equipment safety, fall prevention devices and latent dangers like low-lying, high-voltage power lines.
California OSHA Industrial Relations Director Christine Baker posited that building projects pose unique dangers for increased risk of work related accidents. As such, Baker expressed belief that employers must establish effective training programs to ensure that workers consistently follow correct safety procedures.
Details of Deadly Work Related Accidents
According to Cal/OSHA, high-elevation work is especially risky and allegedly caused the four fatal work related accidents under current investigation. The first construction employee died on May 18 in downtown Riverside, while dissembling a train rail that fell on him. On May 20, a second worker died due to catastrophic head injuries sustained in a nine-foot fall at a San Mateo construction site.
That same day witnessed the death of a third worker who was killed when a 22-foot steel beam collapsed and crushed his body beneath its weight in San Diego. The following day, a San Jose residential construction worker fell three stories to his death.
Falls are the single biggest contributing factor in construction work related accidents. Consequently, the U.S. Occupational and Safety Hazards Administration recently declared June 2 – June 6 as National Fall Prevention Stand-Down Week to focus public attention on fall prevention. California OSHA has participated in several statewide stand-down events.
While such collaborative remedial efforts by state and federal government agencies are commendable, nothing can erase the damage caused by four deaths. Negative consequences for loved ones left behind can remain to linger for a lifetime. Besides immediate adversities created by excessive medical bills and burial costs, long-term economic damage continues with permanent loss of a primary breadwinner’s income.
In many instances, financial losses far exceed worker’s comp benefits statutory limits. Depending on case-specific facts and surrounding circumstances, surviving family members of deceased victims of work related accidents could be entitled to special damages. Such enhanced monetary penalties are designed to punish and deter gross employer negligence or careless disregard for worker safety.
Have You Been Injured?
If you were injured in a work related accident, or a loved one was killed, consider seeking legal counsel to ensure you fully understand your legal rights. Attorney Group for California can provide a free consultation, and connect you with an affiliated attorney who can help you file a lawsuit. Contact us today.