Cal/OSHA Cites Construction Company in Fatal Steel Pipe Accident

American Canyon—Cal/OSHA cited a Bay Area company following an investigation into a fatal accident at a Petaluma construction site in April. A 28-year-old worker from Novato was killed when a 40-foot concrete-coated steel pipe being unloaded from a forklift rolled down a slope and crushed him.

“This fatality could have been avoided had the required safety measures been in place for working at a hazardous location,” said Christine Baker, Director of the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR). Cal/OSHA is a division of DIR.

The accident occurred around 7 a.m. on April 15 near Highway 101, where Maggiora & Ghilotti, Inc. of San Rafael was replacing an old water pipe. The employee was working with a forklift operator to unload and transport the new pipe down a sloping dirt road. The pipe weighed approximately 8,000 pounds and was not secured to the forklift; it was unloaded directly to the ground without any chocks or barrier to prevent it from moving. The worker was facing the pipe when it slid off the forks, rolled over him and was finally stopped by a chain link fence.

“Employers must be vigilant in recognizing job hazards and keeping their employees safe by taking the necessary precautions in all aspects of an operation,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum.

Cal/OSHA’s American Canyon office issued three citations to Maggiora & Ghilotti for failing to recognize and plan for the hazard of transporting the steel pipe, for failing to survey and plan for the hazards of uneven ground, and for not securing the pipe during transport. The three citations total $38,250.

Cal/OSHA helps protect workers from health and safety hazards on the job in almost every workplace in California. Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Services Branch provides free and voluntary assistance to employers and employee organizations to improve their health and safety programs. Employers should call (800) 963-9424 for assistance from Cal/OSHA Consultation Services.

Source: Cal/OSHA

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