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Fatal Falls Prompt Cal/OSHA to Cite Bay Area Construction Firm

Nov. 25, 2014
Cal/OSHA has cited Burlingame, Calif.-based Disney Construction Inc. for serious violations that allegedly contributed to the May 30 deaths of two workers.

Cal/OSHA has cited Burlingame, Calif.-based Disney Construction Inc. for serious violations that allegedly contributed to the May 30 deaths of two workers.

Marcus Zane Powell, 25, and Glenn Hodgson, 49, died when they fell 80 feet from a crane-hoisted platform at a bridge-construction site in Winters, Calif.  

Cal/OSHA has issued $106,110 in fines for serious safety violations.

In an investigation of the fatal accident, Cal/OSHA’s Sacramento District Office concluded that Disney Construction’s crane had not been certified or visually inspected for defects to meet current testing and examination standards.

The agency also determined that the crane operator failed to perform an unmanned trial run or have a competent person inspect the rigging and platform before usage, and that there was no qualified, trained signal person to assist with the lifting operation.

“Employers in California are required to perform regular equipment inspections to identify and prevent mechanical problems that can lead to tragedy,” said Christine Baker, director of the Department of Industrial Relations, which oversees Cal/OSHA.

Disney Construction was hired to build a new concrete bridge to connect the city of Winters in Yolo County to Solano County across Putah Creek.

Workers were using a pile-driver crane when a cable broke near the top of a pile driver. A second crane was used to hoist a personnel platform carrying Powell and Hodgson so they could troubleshoot the cable on the pile driver. The rigging used to connect the platform to the crane dislodged, causing the platform and workers to fall some 80 feet to the ground, according to Cal/OSHA.

“Specific regulations are in place to operate cranes safely. This incident is a sobering reminder of the tragedies that can occur when safety protocols are not followed,” said Acting Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum.

Cal/OSHA also cited Disney Construction for not thoroughly surveying the conditions of the worksite for predictable employee hazards and neglecting to implement the necessary safeguards required to perform this type of operation.                              

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