California Highway Patrol (CHP) has begun auditing the inspection records of Graniterock, one of California's longest standing construction companies, following the death and serious injury of two of their employees. The accident occurred on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017, on Highway 17 near Scotts Valley in Santa Cruz.
The two Caltrans contractors were in the process of removing debris that had accumulated on the roadway following a highway mudslide when struck. The dump truck in question was thought to have been backing up in the direction of a hill at the time.
The 54-year-old male victim was killed on the spot. The other employee, a 33-year-old male was still alive when witnesses reached him. He was, however, pinned down under the truck's tires.
When emergency personnel arrived, they found the sole survivor conscious and talking and quickly worked to free him from beneath the truck's tires. He was taken to the hospital in stable condition.
Hours after the tragic accident, CHP investigators not only began inspecting the truck, but had an opportunity to speak with the dump truck driver. Preliminary evidence suggests that the truck's backup warning system was not properly functioning as the truck was placed in reverse and proceeded to back up.
While the investigation continues, workers at the 117-year-old company where the two men worked are trying to come to terms with what happened. The company had established quite a solid reputation as a state contractor over the years and the deceased had been with the company for more than 15 years.
Incidents like this occur all too often, especially in areas where heavy machinery is being used. If you or someone you know has been injured or lost one's life in an incident such as this, a California workplace accident attorney can provide guidance in your legal matter.
Source: KQED, "Fellow Workers Devastated by Accident That Killed Contractor After Santa Cruz County Mudslide," Ted Goldberg, Feb. 10, 2017