Work sites in California and all other states must always be properly assessed and evaluated before the commencement of construction activities. If potential hazards exist and are left unaddressed, workplace injuries or fatalities are often the results. The positions of underground gas lines or electricity cables pose significant dangers if their locations are not identified before it is too late.
In April of last year, the Fresno County Public Works Department allowed a front-end loader operator to work on a site without consulting the public utility supplier before beginning the dig. It was reported that the utility company had no prior knowledge of work planned for a site under which a gas line was situated. When the operator of the front-end loader punctured the gas line, a devastating explosion was caused.
The explosion took place next to the Fresno Peace Officers Gun Range, and the blast injured 12 people and caused the death of one individual. An investigation by Cal/OSHA followed the fatal blast. Investigators determined that the county violated safety regulations, and the administration proposed penalties totaling in excess of $101,000.
When a California family loses a loved one to fatal workplace injuries, financial relief may be available. The workers’ compensation insurance fund offers death benefits to covered dependents of deceased workers. Similarly, benefits are available to financially assist injured workers. Workers’ compensation benefits typically cover medical and/or end-of-life expenses, along with a lost-wage financial package that is commonly based upon the deceased or injured worker’s level of income prior to the accident.
Source: abc30.com, “Fresno County Public Works faces hefty state fine for gas line explosion“, Oct. 29, 2015