People can appreciate that construction work can be dangerous. However, that makes it all the more important for employers in the construction industry not to cut corners, especially when it comes to worker safety. Should they fail to follow applicable safety rules, it could lead to disaster.

Cal/OSHA recently issued a fine of over $141,000 to a construction company, after an investigation into a fatal trench accident revealed nine safety violations. The incident began when the company put together a trench box. Several days later, a worker was in the trench compacting dirt while at the same time a second worker was taking apart the rails that were put into place to stop a cave-in of the trench. A hook used to lift the rails up was faulty, and a two-ton rail ended up falling onto the worker compacting dirt.

According to Cal/OSHA, the company violated safety regulations by not properly checking to make sure no workers were in the trench when it was being taken apart. The company also violated safety regulations by not using proper hooks for taking the rails apart.

This is a very sad situation in which a worker was killed on the job. When workers die in on-the-job accidents, depending on the situation, their survivors may be entitled to death benefits through the workers’ compensation system. In California, these benefits can cover reasonable burial expenses and are paid at the total temporary disability rate. Of course, as is the case with any workers’ compensation filing, it is important that any application for death benefits is complete and accurate, or it may be denied. For this reason, some people find it useful to seek professional guidance when pursuing workers’ compensation benefits or death benefits should the worker be killed on-the-job.