OSHA Cites Coreslab for Worker Death
Company cited for two violations, totaling $25,868
Six months after a 20-ton slab of concrete fell from a pipe brace and landed on Amir Bahman Kaman, killing him instantly, on a construction site off East Riverside, a report from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration appears to largely affirm claims made by attorneys for Kaman's widow, Lourdes, that her husband was the victim of operational negligence.
In short, OSHA agrees with Lourdes and attorneys Scott Hendler and Rebecca Webber of Hendler Lyons Flores that Coreslab, the Canadian concrete manufacturer Kaman spent a decade working for as an independent contractor, neglected a number of key safety standards, including using only one brace to hold up the massive concrete panels that it was installing (instead of the two that are required); not using the pins specified by the manufacturer and inserting the pins not into manufacturer-approved holes in the brace; and, throughout the job site, using "multiple field-modified braces with replacement bolts not approved by the manufacturer" that were "exposing employees to the hazards of being struck by precast concrete structures."
OSHA cited Coreslab for two separate violations, each earning the company a penalty of $12,934, or $25,868 overall. It's likely the company will end up paying much less via an informal settlement with the agency, as it has in the past. Webber said she was surprised to see OSHA classified the violations as "serious" rather than as "willful or repeated," which would have led to a fine 10 times as large. She points to citations the company received for similar violations on a job site in Central Texas in 2016, as well as an accident at one of its sites in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where walls that were not properly braced collapsed, injuring two workers. "$26,000 is no kind of deterrent to a company this large," she said. "The penalty amount is grossly inadequate because this was a repeat and willful violation that resulted in a fatality."
Lourdes Kaman and her attorneys have turned down a settlement offer from Coreslab that they said was too low, and have spent much of the new year considering civil action against the company, though Webber said no lawsuit has yet been filed.