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Cal-OSHA revives Levi's stadium fatal accident investigation

In mid-October we reported that a second fatal accident had occurred at the site of the new 49er’s stadium. A delivery driver was killed when the load of rebar he was delivering fell off the side of the truck while being unloaded by a forklift. The accident claimed the life of the contractor.

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health opened an investigation into the accident. The agency says that a 30-foot-long bundle of rebar delivered the fatal blows to the trucker. The accident was the second fatal accident at the future site for Levi’s stadium. Cal-OSHA announced last week after the second accident that it is reopening its investigation into the earlier fatal accident that claimed the life of an experienced elevator mechanic (we discussed that tragedy in June).

On October 14, the agency mailed a notice of no violation to the elevator company that employed the mechanic killed in June at the construction site, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. October 14 is the same day that the rebar delivery driver was killed at the construction site.

However, Cal-OSHA says that new questions have arisen related to the first fatal construction site accident—the workplace safety agency has revived it investigation of that first accident. Specific details about the new agency concerns have not been disclosed. However, the agency says that the experienced mechanic, while in an elevator shaft, was in communication with a person on the elevator and knew that the elevator was in operation. The experienced mechanic was fatally struck by a counterweight on the elevator.

Workplace safety is vitally important at every construction site. California’s workers’ compensation laws are generally a separate issue from Cal-OSHA probes, but information uncovered in a government safety probe has important value for construction workers. If a government probe (or independent investigation) turns up information of third-party activities causing or contributing to an accident (or willful misconduct of an employer), the issues can be more complex surrounding the construction site accident.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, “California agency revives probe into worker's death at 49ers stadium,” Bay City News Service, Oct. 22, 2013

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