Cal/Osha Cites An Employer For Injuries To Employee Due To Electrocution At A Construction Site

December 30, 2018 in Cal/OSHA, Electrocution, Hazard, Injury, OSHA, Safety

Rialto, CA – Cal/OSHA Reporting ID: 0950633 stated that on or about May 25, 2018, an Electric Crew Foremen became incapacitated when he contacted energized parts of a 6.9kV transformer causing the employee serious injuries.

The Employer was cited, among others, for failing to ensure that a supervisory employee (Electric Crew Foreman) utilized protective coverings or devices, adequate barriers, or isolation methods while working on exposed underground cables, concentric ground wires, or conductors, including but not limited to, equipment or parts of an energized transformer located within a BURD structure having a working space of less than 36 inches. As a result, an employee while attempting to remove an old ground wire came in contact with an energized section of the transformer with an operating voltage of 6.9kV causing the employee serious injuries.

The citation continues to state that prior to, and during the course of the investigation, including but not limited to May 25, 2018, the Employer failed to ensure that a supervisory Employee (Electric Crew Foreman) utilized hazardous energy control procedures or personnel change to ensure the continuity of lockout or tag-out protection, including but not limited to provisions for the orderly transfer of lockout or tag-out device protection between off-going and on-coming Employees, to minimize their exposure to energized parts of a 6.9kV transformer located in a BURD structure.

It is alleged that the Employer failed to ensure that a supervisory employee (Electric Crew Foreman) eliminated all possible sources of back-feed voltages on a 6.9kV transformer (being back-fed by a generator), by effectively disconnecting or grounding the high voltage side, or disconnecting or short circuiting the low voltage side.

Last, the citation alleges that Employer’s Field Supervisor, and an Operations Supervisor failed to immediately call 911 to ensure prompt medical treatment, resulting in unnecessary delay in treatment to an employee who sustained a serious injury. 

In all Cal/OSHA cases the Employer is entitled to an appeal of the citation.

Cal/Osha Cites Contractor for Fatal Trench Collapse at Residential Construction Site

December 25, 2018 in Cal/OSHA, Collapse, Falls, Hazard, Injury, Safety

Often the general public and some professionals consider trench accidents to only happen on commercial projects. On December 11, 2018 the State of California Department of Industrial Relations published a News Release No.: 2018-100  that concerned a trench accident at a residential project.

Santa Ana—Cal/OSHA has cited a Riverside construction company $66,000 for serious workplace safety violations that resulted in the death of a worker when a 17-foot-deep trench he was in collapsed. Cal/OSHA determined that the construction company did not properly classify the soil and failed to correctly slope the excavation.

On May 9, two Services workers were installing sewer pipes at a Lake Forest residential construction site when a 30-foot-wide section of the trench’s sidewall sloughed and collapsed. Only one of the workers was able to escape.

Cal/OSHA’s investigation found that the company failed to ensure the site was inspected by someone who was deemed competent by the employer and familiar with trench hazards, soil classification and the appropriate safety requirements. The soil at the worksite was unstable, requiring an adequate protective system.

“Because working in excavations is so dangerous, a competent person must conduct thorough visual and manual tests to properly classify the soil and adequately protect employees from cave-ins,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “Failing to carry out these requirements can be fatal.”

Cal/OSHA Issues Citations to Framing Contractor for Willful Violations of Nail Gun Safety Regulations

December 14, 2018 in Air Pressure Equipment, Cal/OSHA, Hazard, Injury, Nail Gun Injury, OSHA, Personal Protection Equipment, Safety

On October 30, 2018 the State of California Department of Industrial Relations published News Release No.:2018-88

Santa Ana—Cal/OSHA has issued citations for willful violations of nail gun safety regulations after a carpenter was seriously injured at a residential construction site. An investigation found that the employer failed to train and instruct employees on the proper use of pressure-powered nailing tools.

On April 17, a carpenter was using an air pressure-powered nail gun to frame wood at a construction site in Lake Forest. The worker was carrying the nail gun in his right hand with his finger on the trigger when a nail was unintentionally discharged into his left arm. Cal/OSHA’s investigation found that the employees did not receive hands-on training for operating nailing tools safely and that the Rancho Santa Margarita-based employer did not ensure workers carry nail guns only by the handle and not with their finger on the trigger.

Cal/OSHA issued two willful-serious accident-related citations with a total of $225,500 in proposed penalties for failure to train workers on nail guns and failure to ensure safe operation of these tools. Cal/OSHA’s review of the employer’s injury log showed 34 instances of nail gun injuries suffered by employees since 2016.

“Employers must effectively train workers to safely operate dangerous tools such as nail guns,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “The employer knew these tools are hazardous and did not take the necessary measures to protect their workers from injury.”

Injury By Glass and Building Codes Yesterday and Today

December 8, 2018 in Falls, Glass, Glass and Gazing, Injury, OSHA

            From time to time we have been called upon to investigate personal injuries due to glass breakage.  These types of accidents can vary from minor to major injuries including fatalities.

            There are various causes for such incidents including people walking into and through glass walls and doors, shattering of glass due to direct strikes by blunt objects, defective glass, failure of glass systems such as shower doors falling off their tracks, and sometimes plain old bad luck.

            Regardless of the cause there are two distinct differences between the incidents, those that involve untempered glass and those that involve tempered glass.

            Without going too deeply into the technical aspects of glass manufacturing the differences between tempered and untempered glass are stark and significant.

            When untempered glass breaks it does so in chunks typically referred to as shards.  Often the shards are broken into triangle shapes resembling knifes. Depending on the cause of the glass breakage the shards can impel, cut, or both any part of a soft tissue, human or animal.

            Tempered glass when broken is designed to shatter into very small pieces of glass. They too can cause injury but are less likely to become life threatening.

            There are circumstances when even tempered glass becomes dangerous.  One such occasion is when glass panes become dislodged from their frames in low and high rise buildings. The glass becomes airborne and transforms into a flying missile. Obviously in such a case it makes no difference whether the glass is tempered or not.

           As of the 1961 Uniform Building Code untempered glass was in wide and legal use. Starting with the 1964 Uniform Building Code we see where mandatory use of tempted glass [and other safety glazing] first becomes law under Section 5406 as follows:

 Glass lights subject to impact hazards and in the following locations shall  comply with Table No. 54-D:

 1. Glass doors and wall panels of bathtub and shower enclosures. For Plastics, see Section 1711 (e).

2. Where bottom of glass light is within eighteen inches (18”) of floor or walking surface.

3. Glass lights of glass panel doors.

            By the time this article was written in December of 2018, the codes and regulations governing the installation of glass become more strict. Under the 2015 International Building Code, which is the cornerstone of most building codes in the United States, Sections 2406.4, 2407, 2408, and 2409 require safety glazing, with minimal exceptions, in all hazardous locations including doors, windows, glass guard railings, wet surfaces, areas adjacent to stairways and ramps, fire department access panels, glazing in athletic facilities, and glazing in walkways, elevator hoist ways, and elevator cars.

            We do not anticipate any reductions in the current building codes and may see even more stringent requirements if future environmental and safety concerns dictate the need to provide even more protection.

            The author has investigated scores of incidents relating to glazing injuries and has qualified in court to testify as an expert in this field.