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Bakersfield man killed in Simi Valley crane accident

A truck driver for a company based in Bakersfield, California was killed in a worksite accident Wednesday in Simi Valley. A second person suffered minor injuries in the accident--news reports do not indicate if the second worker was a co-worker from the trucking firm, or a worker from a different company. Authorities say that a 5,000 pound piece of steel fell as crews unloaded the steel at the Simi Valley site.

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health was called in to open an investigation into the fatal worksite accident. A spokeswoman for Cal-OSHA says that preliminary information indicates that a chain snapped as a crane lifted the massive chunk of steel. The Bakersfield man was not able to get out of the way, and was struck by the piece of steel. A second worker escaped fatal injury. The second worker moved, but suffered relatively minor injuries in the accident.

Workplace safety officials continue to investigate the incident. Cal-OSHA says that it could take up to six months before the probe is complete. The accident occurred at a Pre-Con Products facility in Simi Valley. The victim of the fatal accident was employed as a driver for Valley Wide Distributors in Bakersfield, California. Cal-OSHA says that the agency has no records of any previous investigations involving either company.

Federal safety officials estimate that roughly 125,000 cranes are in use in the construction industry nationwide. Cranes are also used in various other industries, with 80,000 to 100,000 cranes in operation in general industrial or maritime use in the United States, according to OSHA. Dropped loads are a common form of industrial accident, exposing workers to great risk of injury or death.

Source: The Bakersfield Californian, "Bakersfield man crushed by steel in Simi Valley industrial accident," Cindy Von Quednow-Ventura Count Star, April 11, 2013

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