A construction company with offices in Irvine is one of several companies cited for safety violations that state officials say led to the death of a worker when a bridge was demolished as part of a widening project on the 91 Freeway. According to a news report in the Orange County Register, the California Department of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has fined the general contractor as well as a subcontractor hired to take down a railroad overpass near 14th Street in downtown Riverside. The man who was killed was working on the bridge.
Fatal Incident on Bridge Project
SEMA Construction that has a regional office in Irvine was fined $54,935 for four violations, three of them classified as “serious.” Subcontractor Hard Rock Equipment Rentals of Corona faces penalties of $50,850 that are linked to seven violations, six of them serious. The accident in question occurred on May 18 when a bridge section collapsed onto empty eastbound lanes. An employee of Hard Rock Equipment Rentals tethered to the structure by a safety harness was catapulted onto the pavement. The worker, Okesene Faasalele, 59, of Long Beach, died from injuries suffered.
Serious Safety Violations
Hard Rock apparently used a Caterpillar front-end loader for something it was not designed to do, to anchor a section of the bridge. The loader was carrying more weight than it could handle and got pulled in the direction of the bridge as the victim was torch cutting the last floor beam. The portion of the bridge connected to the loader fell 22 feet taking the victim with it.
Both companies have appealed the fines. Although the victim worked for the subcontractor, Cal/OSHA has maintained that the general contractor had an obligation to ensure safety for the entire project. Cal/OSHA cited SEMA for violations including failure for not having a contingency plan for an unplanned bridge collapse, failure to communicate the need for a fall protection plan with subcontractor supervisors, failure to include procedures for correcting unsafe work practices and for not identifying the hazard of cutting floor I-beams on the bridge.
Third Party Claim
When a worker is killed in an on-the-job accident, his family can seed workers’ compensation death benefits. However, it is a fact that workers’ compensation benefits in California are woefully inadequate when it comes to compensating a family for losing a primary or sole wage earner. In such cases, victims’ families may be able to file a third-party claim against a party other than the employer whose negligence may have caused or contributed to the fatal incident. An experienced Orange County personal injury attorney who has successfully handled third party claims will be able to help victims or their families better understand their legal rights and options.
Charles Nicholas Sarris has filed a lawsuit against a Los Angeles equipment supply company that was hired to make a giant novelty tongue slide for pop star Miley Cyrus’s new Bagerz tour.
According to a report on TMZ.com, Sarris says he was hired to help with the slide construction, but was badly injured on the job.
He alleged that he was not provided the tools and equipment he needed for the job, which caused him to fall and suffer serious injuries.
Sarris also claims that the company, ShowFx Inc., failed to warn him about the potential dangers involved with the job. He is seeking unspecified damages.
Cyrus has been “making a grand entrance on to her Bangerz tour stage by
sliding down the inflatable tongue, which hangs out of a massive projection of her own face,” according to Rolling Stone magazine.
Cyrus’s video twerking and sticking out her tongue at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards went viral last year. Rolling Stone reports that Sarris’s incident is not the first reported injury associated with the Bangerz tour.
During the Anaheim show on February 20, opening act Sky Ferreira fell during her first song and cut her leg open. She was hospitalized later and got 60 stitches.
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January 27, 2013—Astoria, New York–A construction accident at the site of a new apartment building in Queens resulted in the death of a worker who plunged 15 feet into a basement, striking his head on a steel girder, according to witnesses and news reports from the NY Daily News.
Unsafe Conditions May Have Been Present
The 42-year-old unnamed employee was working at the Broadway site when he fell through a hole in the first floor. He plunged fifteen feet into a basement area and was struck by a steel girder. He was rushed to the hospital but died of his injuries. Workers who were interviewed about the accident refused to give their names but confirmed the circumstances of the man’s death.
Work at the site was called to a halt with the Department of Buildings investigated. The general contractor employing the worker, Centex Builders, has not commented on the death or investigation. …Read the rest »
Jose Malena, 65, suffered fatal injuries on the job after he was trapped in a cooking device at the Bumble Bee Foods plant in Santa Fe Springs. According to a KTLA news report, the incident occurred the morning of October 11, 2012 at the factory located in the 13100 block of Arctic Circle. Malena was discovered inside a device called the steamer machine and pronounced dead at the scene. Cal-OSHA officials are still trying to determine how Malena ended up inside the equipment. Investigators are also looking into whether there were any health or safety violations at the site.
OSHA officials stated that the investigation, which will include visits to the tuna canning plant, interviews and review of the company’s safety documentation, could be completed within six-months. If it is determined after the investigation that there were safety violations, the company could face civil penalties. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office will also determine if criminal charges are warranted. …Read the rest »
An Orange County Transportation Authority employee, who was driving an agency-issued Toyota Prius, was seriously injured in a Santa Ana car accident involving a suspected drunk driver. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the major injury collision occurred in the 200 block of North Harbor Boulevard near First Street the morning of October 5, 2012. Police say a Chevy Tahoe struck the Prius. The woman was extricated from the Prius and transported to an area hospital with major injuries. The driver of the Tahoe was detained on suspicion of driving under the influence. The investigation is ongoing.
My heart goes out to this injured OCTA employee who has suffered severe injuries in this collision. I wish her the very best for a speedy and complete recovery. She will certainly be in my thoughts and prayers.
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California Highway Patrol Officer Andy Beasley was severely injured in a car accident in Sacramento County after his motorcycle hit a vehicle that had moments earlier been involved in a separate collision. According to a CBS13 news report the injury crash occurred the morning of September 25, 2012 in the westbound lanes of the Interstate 80 near Greenback Lane. Officials say a Chevy Cruze driven by 53-year-old Debra Andes was traveling in the number two lane, when it rear-ended a Toyota Corolla driven by 50-year-old Jessica Brown.
The impact pushed the Corolla into the number one lane, in front of Beasley’s motorcycle. The motorcycle struck the driver’s side of the Corolla. Officer Beasley was ejected from the motorcycle and thrown onto the guardrail. He was transported to a local hospital with major injuries including multiple fractures, abrasions and a concussion. The injuries are not believed to be life threatening. It is not clear if any charges will be filed in this case. The investigation is ongoing.
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