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OSHA Fines CA Companies for Fatal Wall Collapse

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s investigation of a construction site wall collapse in April that killed one worker and injured another is complete, officials say, and the agency is fining both the general and subcontractors on the job more than $40,000.

On April 3, a concrete wall at a work site in El Cajon, California, collapsed as two men were digging footings in a 30-inch trench next to the wall.

The fall of a 20-foot-long section of the 5,000-pound wall killed 51-year-old Fernando Martinez.

The Investigation

NBC 7 San Diego reports that, after the six-month-long investigation, OSHA said it found that general contractor Kunzik & Sara Construction had three violations, including failing to establish, implement and maintain a heat illness plan, failing to provide stability to adjacent structures and failing to prevent injury and illness.

"Prior to and during the course of the investigation, the employer did not provide support systems such as shoring or bracing for the protection of employees where stability of an adjoining wall was endangered by excavation operations," according to OSHA.

"As a result, on or about April 3, 2017, two employees of a subcontractor were seriously injured, one fatally, when the approximately eight-foot-tall concrete block wall fell on them after the stability of the wall was compromised when a trench was dug next to and below the footing of the existing wall."

Kunzik & Sara was fined $41,150, and is also in the middle of a lawsuit with Martinez’s family, who filed in June.

OSHA issued subcontractor Southland Paving several citations, including failing to prevent injury and illness, not having an Emergency Services Plan and failing to remove employees for a hazardous area.

"Prior to and during the course of the investigation, exposed employees were not removed from the hazardous area when the competent person found evidence of hazardous condition after the area next to a concrete block wall was excavated,” OSHA wrote.

Southland Paving was fined $45,825.

NBC 7 talked to Mike Rubell, a compliance specialist that Kunzik & Sara hired, who said that the company is appealing all of the citations OSHA listed. Southland Paving has not commented as of Tuesday afternoon (Oct. 10).


Tagged categories: Accidents; Fatalities; Good Technical Practice; Lawsuits; North America; OSHA; Safety

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