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Citation, fines over painter’s crushing death vacated

Posted On: Apr. 10, 2023 1:45 PM CST


The Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission has vacated a citation and $19,114 in fines against a California contractor after the death of a painter who was crushed by a heavy gate at a casino loading dock.

In a decision filed March 6 and publicized Thursday, the commission determined OSHA failed to prove that San Diego-based Raymond-San Diego Inc. did not carry out required inspections of the heavy gate before the death of the painter on Dec. 7, 2020.

The deceased worker was part of a four-person team tasked with painting the large gate used to control access to the loading dock area of the Agua Caliente Casino, located in Cathedral City, California, and owned and operated by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, a Native American tribe.

Raymond subcontracted with the general contractor, Las Vegas-based PENTA Building Group LLC, to provide painting and other services at the casino work site.

Following the fatality, OSHA inspectors concluded the company failed to adequately inspect the gate and failed to instruct its crew on how to safely open the gate, and it issued a corresponding citation for serious violations.

In vacating the citation, the review commission, in addition to determining the company properly carried out inspections of the gate, ruled the deceased worker’s supervisors “acted with reasonable diligence such that they did not have constructive knowledge of the hazardous condition of the gate.”

OSHA had claimed that the supervisors knew the gate posed a hazard to the painters because it was not in complete working order at the time the workers were tasked with painting it.