Once a company receives a notice of “no violation” after an OSHA investigation, can the agency re-open the matter? Yes, but one requirement must be met, as a recent case involving a fatality shows.
The re-opened investigation must conclude within six months of the incident.
California OSHA has decided to take another look into the death of an elevator installer at the construction site for the new San Francisco 49ers football stadium in Santa Clara.
In June, Donald White, a veteran mechanic for Schindler Elevator, was standing on a ladder at the bottom of an elevator shaft at the stadium construction site when he was struck by a counterweight and killed.
A Cal/OSHA spokeswoman tells SFgate.com that before he was struck, White “was in communication with the person operating the elevator and was aware the elevator was in operation, but did not move. It’s still somewhat of a mystery,” why White didn’t move while knowing the elevator was coming down toward him.
Cal/OSHA had sent a letter to Schindler on Oct. 14, stating it found no violations and closing the investigation.
Now the agency has sent the company another letter, stating it’s re-opening the investigation.
A Cal/OSHA spokeswoman says during an internal review of the case an experienced staffer raised questions. The agency hasn’t stated what those questions are.
Schindler says it believes there were no OSHA violations, but it continues to cooperate with the newly re-opened investigation, which must be finalized by Dec. 11.
Second fatality at site
One day after Cal/OSHA issued its no violation letter to Schindler, a worker for another company died at the stadium construction site.
On Oct. 15, Edward Lake, an employee of subcontractor Gerdau Ameristeel, was killed while unloading a bundle of steel bars from a flatbed truck. The rebar fell on top of him, causing serious injuries. Lake died later at an area hospital.
Cal/OSHA says that investigation is ongoing. The agency will have until April to issue its findings in the case of the second fatality.
The $1.3 billion stadium is due to be finished in the summer of 2014.