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Tunnel work presents risks for workplace accidents

Construction work can be dangerous in California. That is one reason organizations such as the California Occupational Health and Safety Administration (Cal/OSHA) exist. While construction work anywhere presents certain risks, working in a tunnel with large equipment can be particularly dangerous and the risk of workplace accidents is an ever-present danger. The margin for error is reduced by the relatively tight space, and being properly trained in safety measures is critical for one's safety.

In a recent accident in the Twin Peaks Tunnel, a worker died when a crane inside the tunnel knocked a beam causing it to fall and hit the worker who was walking below. The crane operator is believed to have had insufficient training before operating the crane inside the tunnel. He had received only on-the-job training and had operated the crane only two other times.

According to Cal/OSHA, the crane was in an unsecured position when it hit the 1.2-ton beam and caused it to fall 13 feet to the ground below. The worker who was struck died as a result of his injuries. Cal/OSHA cited the construction company for $65,300 in damages related to safety violations in connection with the worker's death. The company had reportedly been cited for previous safety violations.

Sudden deaths as the result of workplace accidents in California will no doubt cause much grief and shock to the families left behind. While a family may know that a serious accident or death is a possibility when one works in the construction field, the reality and shock are no less paralyzing. Consulting with an experienced workers' compensation attorney can help ensure that the family receives the benefits that they are entitled to.

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