The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently announced the completion of an investigation into the Sept. 2015 death of a worker in another state. Investigators determined that the serious workplace injuries suffered by two employees -- resulting in the death of one -- were preventable. Penalties of $63,900 were proposed for the company. Roofing workers in California may be exposed to similar safety hazards.
According to an accident report, the workers were part of a roofing crew that was removing rain gutters from a building in another state. Two workers were in the basket of an aerial lift that unexpectedly lurched forward, pinning one man against the edge of the roof. He suffered fatal injuries and was declared dead at the work site. The second worker reportedly managed to escape from the basket, but fell from the height of the third story and suffered multiple injuries.
OSHA reported that the company failed to inspect the aerial lift prior to operating it on that day. Other citations included the failure to assess the work site and address known safety hazards. It was also determined that workers were exposed to machinery with working parts that were unguarded; further, improperly grounded wiring caused electrical hazards. Apparently, the workers in the aerial lift basket were not issued with safety harnesses to protect them against falls.
California families who lose loved ones in work-related accidents are entitled to pursue death benefits through the workers' compensation insurance system to help with settling the funeral and burial expenses. Also, those who have suffered serious workplace injuries may file benefits claims to cover medical expenses. A percentage of lost income is also typically covered for both deceased workers and injured workers, based on their most recent income levels.
Source: workerscompensation.com, "Roofing Contractor's Safety Failures Led to One Worker's Death, Another's Severe Injuries at Florida job site", March 25, 2016