Supervisor calls for safety hearing after construction company violations surface following death

- San Francisco Supervisor Norman Yee is now Calling for a hearing on the safety record of city contracts, in light of  a company whose worker was crushed by a steel beam last Friday, when he was working on the Twin Peaks Tunnel project in San Francisco. 

According to federal records, Shimmick Construction has been hit with nearly 40 violations in the last 10 years. 

On the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) website, KTVU found 39 violations dating back to 2008. In May of 2012, a worker suffered a ruptured diaphragm after he was crushed by a pipe. Then in January of 2015, an employee had to get his finger amputated after it was pinned against a wall. 

In November of 2016, a forklift operator was ejected from the cab and crushed by the forklift. He died days later. 

One year after that incident, Shimmick Construction was asked in an San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Agency (SFMTA) questionnaire if it had been cited for any “serious or willful violations” in the past 10 years. The company’s answer was no. 

We spoke to his chief of staff Wednesday about their concerns.

“It raises a number of red flags and concerns on whether or not the city is doing the proper vetting to ensure that the contractors that we select have a history of good workplace practices, particularly around safety,” said Jen Low, Norman Yee’s Chief of staff. 

It also raises the question: Was the company dishonest about its record, or is there a loophole that allowed them to conceal violations because they're still in appeals?

“The city should be vetting regardless of whether or not they have to answer no to that question,” said Low.

KTVU went to Shimmick Construction's corporate headquarters in Oakland but they wouldn't comment on the reported violations.

They are cooperating with the victim's family, telling us that they're paying for funeral expenses, among other things. 

51-year-old Patrick Ricketts was killed Friday after a temporary steel beam fell and crushed him.  He had only been with Shimmick Cconstruction for less than a year. A close friend of his tells KTVU  he was working in Alaska before landing this job and was excited to be working closer to his home near Sacramento. 

Ricketts' stepson also worked for Shimmick Construction and was on the site when Patrick died. A friend of the family says, so far they have not sought legal action against Shimmick Construction. No word if they will do so in the future.

Ricketts death is still currently under investigation. 

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