California company fined for fatal pipeline work-related accident

All employees expect to be trained properly for their jobs, especially when dealing with large construction equipment and/or in other potentially dangerous settings. When someone is injured or killed because of a work-related accident, the Occupational Safety Health Administration likely becomes involved. Recently, the California branch of OSHA intervened when a fatal work-related accident occurred in Bakersfield.

According to Cal/OSHA, the company Big & Deep was hired to develop land for almond tree cultivation. During the process, a bulldozer operator accidentally punctured a high priority gas line, which ruptured and ignited the highly-pressurized gas. This resulted in an explosion, which killed the bulldozer operator and also demolished a nearby home.

A subsequent investigation revealed that the operator had not been properly trained or informed about the locations of the underground pipelines. Cal/OSHA notes that the company knew of the location of the pipeline, and failed to protect its employee and other nearby citizens. In fact, the company had pierced the same gas pipe in 2014, though fortunately no one was injured in that incident.

Those in California who have experienced a work-related accident that results in death may benefit from speaking to an attorney who focuses on wrongful death litigation. When someone is killed on the job, there may be unexpected expenses such as medical bills, loss of wages, and other financial considerations. An attorney who is experienced in personal injury will be able to discuss pertinent state and federal laws, from workers’ compensation death benefits to wrongful death litigation, in order to guide clients toward the most favorable outcome.

Source:, “Cal-Osha fines McFarland company for fatal pipeline accident”, Alan Prock, May 25, 2016

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