Two California construction companies have been fined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for unsafe conditions on a job site. The companies are under scrutiny for exposing their workers to the risk of cave-ins on a certain project that is underway in the Bay Area. Work on the site was halted until the dangerous risk of on-the-job injury was addressed and corrected.

One of the companies was cited for three particularly serious violations, which were noted to be willful. This indicates that the company knew of the risks, yet continued with the work anyway. The dangers included 11-foot unsupported walls, which were discovered during an OSHA investigation in April. Despite the immediate stop-work order, the workers were ordered back to the site by their employers within a few days. 

Other risks discovered at the job site included unguarded wall and floor openings and unguarded exposed rebar ends. OSHA noted that similar dangers have claimed the lives of construction workers in the past. The blatant disregard for the dangers on the job site and the failure to fix the problems put the lives of all workers in unnecessary danger. Any worker, including one employed in the California construction industry, has the right to a safe work environment. 

Employers should take steps to protect workers and prevent on-the-job injury whenever possible. When a worker is injured because of blatant safety hazards, it is important to work with a lawyer who understands workers’ rights and compensation options. The rights afforded to all injured workers in the state include workers’ compensation benefits.

Source: Piedmont, CA Patch, “CAL/OSHA Fines 2 Firms for Exposing Workers to Cave-In Hazards in Piedmont“, Autumn Johnson, Oct. 15, 2015