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The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health cited two construction firms a total of $352,570 for multiple workplace safety and health violations, including 10 serious and three willful category violations, following an incident in which a worker lowered into a 50-foot drainage shaft fell to his death, according to a press release.
General contractor Tyler Development Inc. was constructing a single-family residence in Los Angeles and hired Sun Valley, California-based subcontractor D&D Construction Specialties Inc. to install and service reinforced concrete posts on the property. On Oct. 21, 2016, a D&D Construction worker entered the narrow, concrete drainage shaft to clean out mud and debris. He stood inside a bucket attached to a mini crawler crane with no personal fall protection. After descending 10 feet into the shaft, the worker lost consciousness due to the oxygen deficient atmosphere, fell approximately 40 feet and drowned in one foot of water, according to the press release.
D&D Construction and Tyler Development failed to follow permit-required procedures to work in confined spaces, the agency said. Cal/OSHA in 2012 cited D&D Construction for violating similar safety orders at a different construction site, according to the release.
“Cal/OSHA launched a confined space educational program to bring attention to the dangers and preventable deaths that occur in confined spaces,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum, in a press statement. “The program helps employers identify hazards and create effective safety plans that include air monitoring, rescue procedures and training before work begins.”
In 2011, there were seven confined space fatalities in California, according to Cal/OSHA.
Employer representatives are praising the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s withdrawal of a controversial Obama-era policy that allowed union officials to participate in safety inspections at nonunionized workplaces, as the Trump administration focuses on easily reversible policies.