Many of our Santa Clara County readers are probably getting excited about the new stadium being constructed for the San Francisco 49ers. The project has been moving along quite steadily, with an eye toward a completion date in July of 2014. Unfortunately, projects of this magnitude are seldom completed without a few construction accidents along the way. That was the case recently, when a worker on the site was crushed by a bundle of rebar.

According to the reports, this workplace accident occurred on the morning of October 14. The employee, a 60-year-old male, was unloading the bundle from a truck when it fell on him. The man was said to have suffered serious injuries, and he later died at the hospital. The man's employer, as well as the San Francisco 49ers, subsequently released statements about the man's death.

Although an initial investigation by local law enforcement authorities came to the conclusion that the incident was an accident, safety inspectors were expected to complete a more extensive investigation into the cause of the man's death. Oftentimes "accidents" on a worksite are actually more directly attributable to equipment failures or negligence on the part of another employee. This recent incident is even more unfortunate in light of the fact that it is the second deadly accident on the stadium project this year. Another employee died in early June as well. An investigation into that accident did not show any negligence on the part of another party.


Bakersfield, California witnessed the implosion of a 1940s power plant recently but the widespread injuries from the implosion have two state agencies investigating the incident. The workplace accident left one man critically injured and hurt many other employees.

Both Cal-OSHA and California Public Utilities Commission opened investigations. The commission supervises the Pacific Gas and Electric co., which owns the power plant at issue. Cal-OSHA ensures compliance with public and workplace safety laws.

As with many of these larger demolition jobs, there may be an issue of multiple employers. Jobs, or portions of jobs, are often contracted out and Cal-OSHA plans to focus on one company at a time in order to determine what happened and who might be at fault.


For many, fireworks are an integral aspect of celebrating Independence Day: nothing caps off a day of playing at the beach or backyard barbecuing like watching a spectacular fireworks show at night. However, fireworks can also be dangerous, and when not used properly, can cause injuries to people operating fireworks or even bystanders. This year, the state of California witnessed two devastating fireworks accidents, including one in Ojai, which left a worker seriously injured.

This past Independence Day, an incident at a professionally managed fireworks show in Ojai injured a pyrotechnics operator. The 32-year-old man suffered "extensive injuries," according to the Ventura County Fire Department, and remains in the hospital. No other injuries were reported. The malfunction occurred after the show began, when a pyrotechnic device went off prematurely. The Ventura County Fire Department and the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating the accident.

Accidents and injuries resulting from dealing with objects and tools that are dangerous in and of themselves, such as with fireworks, or electrical wiring, or power equipment accidents and injuries, can be devastating to workers and their families because recovery may require significant time away from work. When a tragic accident such as this one occurs on the job and a worker is injured, that worker may be able to turn to worker's compensation.


Working in a labor-intensive field, such as construction, can pose many risks to an employee's health. From straining muscles or sustaining other work-related injury, to being injured by the heavy machinery necessary to perform the work, these kinds of workers face risks every day.

Even work involving driving, rather than more manual labor, can result in deadly accidents. Recently a 49-year-old man from San Jose was killed while working at a quarry in the Cupertino area. It is believed that he was standing behind a tractor when the brakes failed, injuring him. He died at the hospital from his injuries. Investigators are continuing to look into the cause, including the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office and the mining and tunneling unit of Cal-OSHA.

When a tragic workplace accident occurs, workers' compensation often comes into play. Each state has its own workers' compensation laws, which operate to make sure that workers receive certain benefits when they are injured. These laws also set forth who can benefit from workers' compensation. Certain types of employees are generally excluded, such as independent contractors and volunteers.


Working in a factory or plant of any kind can be a dangerous occupation, considering the type and kind of machinery, power sources and, in some cases, sheer volume of moving parts. In plants that manufacture products that are dangerous on their own, the risk can be multiplied and lead to power equipment accidents and injuries.

Recently, a power plant located near Sacramento, experienced "catastrophic mechanical failure," according to investigators. This failure caused a boiler to rupture, injuring two workers. One of the injured workers experienced cuts and burns and was airlifted to a hospital in Sacramento; the other injured worker was able to be treated on site.

The power plant is considered a biomass plant, and burns wood chips and other waste products to produce electricity on the scale of 18 megawatts of power. The plant was previously a coal plant, and made the switch to biomass in 2012.

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