Crane Accidents

Construction Worker Is Killed At Fashion Valley Mall Job

08/30/96

El Cajon, California

Cal/OSHA Cites Schuff Steel After Fatal San Diego Crane Accident

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) today issued two citations to Schuff Steel Co., for violations of state workplace safety regulations related to an incident June 4 at the Fashion Valley Mall in San Diego. A steel worker was killed in the 6 a.m. occurrence when a steel column fell while being transported by a mobile crane.

The operator killed was Wayne Cvitkovich, age 42. Survived by his wife, his son Michael, 15, and daughters Katie, 10, and Jenna 7 and is missed very much, every day.

Four other violations to workplace safety regulations not related to the accident were also issued at the time against the company.

The two accident-related citations, which were designated serious by Cal/OSHA inspectors and carry penalties of $6,250 each, were issued to Schuff Steel for violations specifically of:

  • exposing employees to the hazard of overhead loads;
  • failing to maintain adjustments to manufacturer’s specifications of the crane machinery’s main load line drum brake and control lowering clutch.

Cal/OSHA Deputy Chief of Field Operations Mark Carleson said the investigation showed mechanical error was likely the largest contributor to the accident. Carleson said inspectors found the crane used at the mall was out of adjustment.

“What we have is a mobile crane operating on that day which had deficiencies,” Carleson said. “While there may have been other factors involved in this accident, it appears the prime focus of responsibility can be directed at the machinery.”

Additionally, as part of its two-month investigation, Cal/OSHA inspectors found the company failed to provide proper safety measures on the machinery and employed improper operating practices. Cal/OSHA cited the company for one willful violation for not having an inoperative crane horn. The violation carries a $5,625 penalty.

Other citations include:

  • failing to have a weight indicator for a three-part load line that was used prior to May 15. The violation, which is ranked as serious, carries a $1,405 penalty;
  • failing to repair a burn hole in the boom lattice that was found during a June 21 inspection. The inspection showed that the burn had remained unfixed even though the crane had been in use for about five weeks. The general violation carries a $185 penalty;
  • failing to have proper operating procedures established so that an operator maneuvering a crane would sound a warning signal when approaching workers. The general violations carries a $1,160 penalty.

California law provides that a company may appeal Cal/OSHA citations and penalties within 15 working days to the Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board in Sacramento.

Contacts: Rick Rice, Tory Swauger (415) 972-8835

Category: Accident Report, In Memory of

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