Two employers have been cited by Cal/OSHA as a result of their misconduct in continuing work – and exposing workers to cave-in hazards – after stop work orders were issued. The fines were in excess of $300,000. According to construction news, the two Northern California construction businesses had been instructed to cease working until the imminent hazards at the jobsite were abated. Cal/OSHA commented, “collapses and cave-ins cause serious workplace injuries and fatalities. These citations remind employers to abide by Cal/OSHA stop work orders that are issued to protect workers from unsafe conditions.”
The citations arose out of conditions at a residential construction site. A Cal/OSHA investigation revealed 11-foot unshored walls, leading the department to issue the stop work orders. However, the construction companies ignored the orders and sent workers back to the site without correcting the hazards, disregarding their safety. Additional violations included dangerous conditions such as an unguarded floor opening and an unguarded wall opening.
Generally, companies may be cited with serious violations when there is a realistic possibility that serious personal injuries or death could occur as the result of a hazard. A willful violation occurs where the employer is aware of a serious hazard and does not take steps to address it, or where the employer is aware of the law and violates it. In this instance, the companies were cited with willful violations.
If you have been injured at a work site that has been found to have violated OSHA regulations it is critical that you contact an experienced Oakland construction accident law firm. Many times, it may be possible to recover civil damages for any harm sustained. In addition to being cited by OSHA, the failure to maintain a safe work environment, free from unreasonably dangerous conditions may be the basis of a civil negligence lawsuit.
For more information, please contact the experienced Oakland personal injury lawyers at Butler Viadro, LLP for an immediate consultation.