A scaffolding company was responsible for the collapse of a wooden walkway cover in downtown San Diego that killed one man and injured 14 others in August, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health has ruled after a lengthy investigation. According to this news report in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Paramount Scaffold Inc. will be fined $10,120 for two serious violations of state safety regulations. The company created a hazard when workers stacked scaffolding planks and metal frames against the pedestrian canopy.
The August 28, 2008 San Diego wrongful death scaffolding collapse incident sent many to the hospital and critically injured 49-year-old Taylor Allen, who died February 12, 2009 of injuries he suffered. The company erected the canopy to protect pedestrians from debris from construction of an apartment complex on Imperial Avenue. Cal-OSHA’s report said four Paramount Scaffolding workers stacked planks and frames against the walkway the morning of Aug. 28. Later in the morning a crane operator saw the walkway buckling under the weight of the planks and warned others, but nothing was done about it. At about 12:20 p.m. the walkway collapsed.
The workers’ actions violate two state safety regulations against overloading scaffolding and creating a hazard with stored material. Taylor Allen’s wife Tina Allen and their three grown children filed a lawsuit against Paramount within days of the collapse. Allen’s injuries instantly rendered him a quadriplegic. Allen’s family had originally filed a negligence lawsuit, but because of his recent death, it will be amended to a San Diego wrongful death lawsuit.
It is appalling to me that Paramount workers did nothing to secure the scaffolding even after they were warned that the walkway was unsafe. Taylor Allen would have lived today had those workers showed the slightest concern for public safety. I offer my deepest sympathies to the Allen family for their tragic loss and hope they get the justice and compensation they rightfully deserve.