- The California Department of Industrial Relations announced Wednesday that its Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has cited two contractors a total of $65,300 in relation to an August worker fatality.
- The joint venture of Shimmick Construction Co. Inc., a subsidiary of AECOM, and Con-Quest Contractors Inc. was performing work on the $40 million Twin Peaks Tunnel Rehabilitation & Rail Replacement project when a worker was crushed by a steel beam. Cal/OSHA said another worker, who allegedly did not have adequate training, was operating a rail crane to push railcars loaded with equipment into the tunnel when the boom hit a steel beam, causing it to fall on the deceased.
- In addition to the proposed fine, Cal/OSHA cited Shimmick and Con-Quest for two serious and two serious accident-related violations for not having an effective injury and illness prevention plan, failure to control the crane while it was in motion and failure to transport workers in a safe manner while in the tunnel.
In the wake of the accident, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (Muni) has changed the safety rules for companies that want to bid on its projects, according to KQED News. The new procedures went into effect at the beginning of this year. The first project to comply with the new safety requirements was the $90 million first phase of the L-Taraval line improvement project.
Contractors must now include more details in the safety plans they submit to the agency and must also commit to hiring dedicated safety managers to work on Muni projects. The information contractors submit to the city must also include details about their safety history and previous Cal/OSHA violations. That particular requirement might have been spurred along by allegations that Shimmick did not disclose information about a 2016 worker death when bidding on the Twin Peaks tunnel project.
Safety managers on Muni projects must be present full time and be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Struck-by incidents have put the construction industry atop all others when it comes to worker deaths. Many of those fatalities are a result of workers being hit by objects or equipment, and others by vehicles.
So far on the $2.3 billion I-4 Ultimate project, for example, four workers have been killed in struck-by accidents. One worker was run over by a dump truck in February 2016 and another was hit and killed by a piece of equipment in December of that same year. The third fatal incident happened in March 2018 when a worker was killed after a rebar cage fell on him. The fourth worker died in early February of this year after he was hit in the head by a 20-foot-long iron pipe.