Napa Valley Man Falls Through Skylight
Cal/OSHA Issues Willful Violation in Napa Valley Skylight Plunge
By: Kevin Thompson
VOL: 45 | NO: 4 | PUBLISHED ON: FEBRUARY 2, 2018
Cal/OSHA has cited a Modesto employer for a willful-serious violation and a serious accident-related violation in the May 2017 death of a worker who plunged 16 feet to his death through a skylight at Napa Valley’s Sutter Home Winery.
Why the willful? According to the agency, the company and the winery talked the talk about fall protection prior to starting the project, but did not walk the walk.
Dan Mario Colombo, 56, was part of a crew that was assigned to do a refrigeration retrofit for Applied Process Cooling Corp., known as APCCO. The retrofit required employees to work on the roof of the glycol room at the winery to install new chiller lines. The roof features semi-translucent corrugated fiberglass skylight panels, and the work required employees to work within six feet of them.
A day before the incident, APCCO and Sutter Home officials met to discuss the project, and part of the discussion involved safety, including fall protection and the skylight hazard. “The APCCO representatives suggested that they would cover the skylight panels,” the Division of Occupational Safety and Health asserts.
The morning of the incident, Sutter Home’s project manager completed a pre-job contractor hazard communication checklist with the APCCO project foreman, including fall protection requirements for contractors. “During the process, the APCCO Project Foreman confirmed in a statement that they (APCCO) ‘were going to take care of covering the skylight panels,’” according to DOSH.
The APCCO foreman conducted a project walkthrough with employees and even pointed out the unprotected skylights, with verbal instructions to be careful.
A little after noon that day Colombo went to the roof to stage materials and fell through a skylight that was the same shape as the corrugated steel roofing and was soiled, making it difficult to distinguish from the roof.
DOSH cited APCCO for failing to cover the skylights, as it apparently intended, or take other steps to protect workers from falling through. It also alleges violations of the construction Injury and Illness Prevention Program standard for failing to correct an imminent hazard. The employer is being cited as the exposing, creating, controlling and correcting employer under the multiemployer worksite regulation.
The Division seeks $88,000 in penalties. APCCO is appealing the citations.
Posted in and tagged APCCO, Applied Process Cooling Corp., Cal/OSHA, Dan Mario Colombo, Division of Occupational Safety and Health, Sutter Home Winery