Construction accident prompts investigation by Cal/OSHA

The machinery and technology on construction sites continue to become more advanced. Drivers or pedestrians that pass by construction workers might see them in towering machines or walking on scaffolding at great heights.

Yet despite many impressive mechanical innovations, the risk of injury on construction sites continues to be a concern. According to data from the Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration, construction accidents accounted for over seventeen percent of the fatal workplace injuries in 2011.

The recent death of a temporary construction worker at a Henkel Corp. facility prompted an investigation by Cal/OSHA authorities. The 26-year-old worker had been working near an industrial adhesive mixer with an exposed rotating shaft. The investigation led to six safety violations and fines totaling over $200,000 against the company. According to a Cal/OSHA official, the accident was preventable and might not have occurred if Henkel had been current in its safety compliance obligations.

In this case, the worker was an employee of a placement agency. The man’s surviving loved ones may have questions about which company is at fault and should be held accountable. A workers’ compensation attorney might be able to provide those answers. For starters, an attorney might be able to recommend the type of lawsuit to file, which defendants to name, and the evidence that might be needed to present a compelling case to the jury. Many construction projects involve subcontractors assigned to various components. However, it often remains the responsibility of the general contractor to comply with applicable federal safety rules and ensure a safe workplace. 

Source:, “Death of a Temporary Worker Spurs Cal/OSHA to Hit Henkel Corp. with $200,000 Fine,” Josh Cable, Sept. 11, 2013

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