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California homeowner could be cited for construction accident

Anytime scaffolding is going to put workers more than 15 feet off the ground, certain permits are required. Failure to obtain these permits could result in a citation. Further, if a construction accident occurs on such scaffolding, the California division of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration could issue safety violation citations.

After an accident in northern California on Jan. 24, a homeowner could face citations both for not having the required permits and for safety violations. The homeowner hired a construction crew to do some work on his home. At least two of the three workers were on a scaffolding catch platform over 15 feet tall when the structure collapsed.

It is presumed that the catch platform had too much weight on it causing the collapse. No information regarding whether the workers were using fall protection gear at the time of the accident was reported. The incident is still under investigation.

All three men, whose ages are 58, 50 and 20, suffered serious injuries as a result of their fall. The injuries suffered by two of the men were considered life-threatening. The current conditions of the men were not reported. Providing the proper safety equipment and training to California construction workers is the responsibility of everyone that employs them. A construction accident could forever alter a worker's life if not end it.

Another issue in this case is whether the homeowner purchased workers' compensation insurance before hiring the three men. California law typically requires an employer, even one just a few employees, to have this important insurance coverage for the benefit of workers. Should it turn out the homeowner did not purchase the insurance, the workers may opt to file civil actions seeking damages against the homeowner.

Under normal circumstances, a worker injured in a construction accident is entitled to workers' compensation benefits to help with the financial fallout associated with such accidents such as medical costs and a compensation package for lost wages. Obtaining all of the benefits available could make the difference in a worker's recovery. Without these benefits, workers could face serious financial issues, and an injured worker would likely benefit by gaining an understanding of applicable laws and procedures with respect to filing a claim for insurance coverage.

Source: ktvu.com,Three injured in SF scaffolding collapse, No author, Jan. 24, 2014

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