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8,000-pound concrete pipe crushes worker in accident on the job

California construction workers face a variety of life-threatening risks every day. Owners of construction companies have enormous responsibilities in having to protect their employees against injuries -- or worse -- that may result from any one of many safety hazards in the workplace. The recent death of a construction worker in an accident on the job traumatized not only his colleagues and family, but also passing motorists who could see the tragedy happen from the road.

The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office reported that a 28-year-old worker was standing by to assist a forklift operator to lower his load in the correct position. The load consisted of an 8,000-pound pipe that was 40 feet long and was the first of four such pipes to be placed. The worker and the forklift were reportedly positioned on a hillside and as soon as the concrete encased metal pipe was set down, it began rolling down the incline. The massive pipe knocked the worker down and crushed him to death. The remaining pipes were apparently later placed without any incidents.

The California Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration says an investigation will follow. This will clarify whether the contracting construction company failed to provide workers with adequate training and whether appropriate safety procedures were followed. Cal/OSHA says the company had been cited for safety violations on previous occasions but mentioned that those violations were of a minor nature.

When a California family loses a loved one in an accident on the job, the trauma is naturally devastating. They should not have to be anxious about the financial implications of such a tragic death. The workers' compensation insurance fund typically provides death benefits that may be claimed by the surviving family members. Compensation for end-of-life expenses and lost income may provide the grieving family with some level of financial relief.

Source: pressdemocrat.com, "Novato man killed by pipe at Petaluma construction", Randi Rossmann, Eloisa Ruano Gonzalez, April 15, 2015

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