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Tunnel accident makes Californians reflect on contractor hiring

It’s common knowledge that the construction industry has some of the most dangerous jobs on the market. When people are looking to contract a company to renovate or build something new in a major area, they want experienced workers who can get the job done quickly and efficiently.

Despite the industry’s advancements in safety measures and training protocols in recent decades, some companies have gotten away with questionable actions that can put both the project and the people working on it at risk. An example of this came in August 2018, when a worker died during a construction project at the Twin Peaks Tunnel in San Francisco. His death received widespread media attention and exposed secrets that the contracted company had tried to hide.

Disaster denial

Shortly after the worker’s death, the media began to investigate the company behind the project. NBC Bay Area found that the company was tied to 11 prior accidents, nearly 50 violations and another worker death in the last decade. Other incidents included the death of a forklift driver who wasn’t wearing a seat belt and workers hitting an exposed gas line. Several of these incidents were cited for serious and willful violations by Cal/OSHA.

Despite this, the company answered “no” when asked before the Twin Peaks project if they were cited for serious and willful safety violations by Cal/OSHA. The San Francisco Supervisor was upset upon finding this out and vowed to hold a hearing with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency on how to improve the contractor selection process in the future.

Lifesaving training

Half a year after the incident, Cal/OSHA fined the company for over $65,000 for safety violations. The investigation revealed that the employers did not:

  • Examine potential environmental hazards
  • Train workers properly on controlling or navigating the crane

Construction companies need to be upfront with both their clients and their workers. Worker safety needs to take priority.

If you or a loved one has suffered due to a company’s negligence, seek the help of an experienced attorney.

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