The contractor in charge of a construction site in Milpitas, California that was the center of a tragic trench collapse has had his license suspended. The Contractors’ State License Board has held that US Sino Investments Inc. failed to comply with state workers’ compensation insurance laws. In 2008, the contractor had allegedly filed paperwork claiming that it did not have any employees.
Over last weekend, a 39-year-old carpenter working for US Sino Investments was killed in a trench collapse at the site when a retaining wall collapsed on him. According to reports, at the time of the accident, the carpenter was working near an unsupported 13-foot retaining wall. The wall suddenly collapsed on him, effectively burying him under a wall of dirt.
Not surprisingly to Los Angeles construction accident lawyers, rescuers rushed to the scene, but were unable to reach the worker in time. He succumbed to his injuries. Rescuers could not even reach the worker’s body, because the area was deemed unstable. Retrieving the body was a challenge, and emergency personnel had to draw up a safety plan to be able to retrieve the body safely without endangering any rescue personnel.
Just a few days before this construction accident, authorities had come down on the company for failure to obtain a state permit before digging a 30-foot deep trench. Under California laws, contractors who want to dig a trench that is 5 feet or deeper, must obtain a special license.
In fact, three days before the accident, city officials had inspected the property, and had slapped the site with a stop–work notice. The contractor was ordered to immediately cease work on the site. The inspector was especially concerned because of the rainy conditions, and because the foundation did not have shoring in place to prevent a collapse. The contractor ignored the stop-work notice. Barely 3 days later, the carpenter was killed.