April 14, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Cal-OSHA cites two companies in SoFi Stadium construction death

Six months after a construction worker fell from SoFi Stadium’s roof and died, California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health has cited two companies for “serious accident related” violations in connection with the incident.

Fabritec Structures LLC and ZD Inspections LLC received a combined five citations earlier this month with total proposed penalties of more than $54,000.

Juan Becerra, employed by ZD Inspections, died in June after falling an estimated 120 feet through a roof opening in the southeast corner of the stadium in Inglewood.

The citation for Fabritec Structures alleged the company’s employees created the opening and didn’t protect it with “either temporary railings and toeboards or by covers.”

“As a result … an employee of ZD Inspection LLC sustained fatal injuries when he fell through the skylight opening to the ground below,” the citation said, suggesting a $22,500 penalty.

Similar language was used for ZD Inspection’s “serious accident related” citation, along with an $18,000 penalty. The company was cited for two additional serious violations, including employees on the southeast portion of the stadium roof not wearing “personal fall arrest, personal restraint or positioning systems” and the company not correcting “unsafe conditions involving a fall hazard” in that area.

The L.A. County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s report on Becerra’s death said, “Upon inspecting the fall protection harness, it was determined that it appeared in working order, with no obvious faults or defects present. However, it was noted that there was no ‘cat line’ or safety line seen attached or ‘clipped’ onto the harness.”

The companies, which have the right to appeal the citations, didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment Tuesday.

Brian White, the Houston-based attorney who is part of the Becerra family’s legal team, declined to comment on Cal-OSHA’s decision.

In August, Becerra’s family sued the companies along with Turner-AECOM Hunt, the joint venture overseeing construction, and Stadco LA, the company behind the privately financed project, in L.A. County Superior Court.

“Due to delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the required completion date in August 2020 for the forthcoming NFL season, work was unnecessarily and unsafely hurried by the Defendants, resulting in the lack of appropriate safety precautions and lack of a safe work space, which were a substantial factor in causing the fall,” the complaint said.

Cal-OSHA’s investigation into the death of a second construction worker at the stadium is ongoing, according to an agency spokesman.

Simon Fite died in July from what the joint venture described in a statement as “signs of a personal health issue.” The medical examiner-coroner listed the death as an accident due to “cocaine intoxication” with other significant conditions of hyperintensive heart disease and a history of asthma.