Muni Contractors Fined $65K for Twin Peaks Tunnel Death

State investigators found that the crane operator had little training before bumping a steel beam that crushed their colleague.

A worker stands on scaffolding to perform repair work inside the old Eureka Valley Station, which now makes up part of the eastern entrance of the Twin Peaks Tunnel, on Monday, May 28, 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

A price has been named for the death of 51-year-old Patrick Ricketts, the Twin Peaks Tunnel construction worker: $65,300.

Ricketts died on Aug. 10 when a steel beam fell on him while working on upgrades to the 100-year-old tunnel. An investigation by the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration revealed Wednesday that the crane operator who struck the steel beam had only used the equipment twice before, Bay City News reports.

Ricketts and three other employees were moving in a “zone of danger” when the 1.2 ton steel beam dropped 13 feet. Cal/OSHA ultimately cited Shimmick Construction and Con-Quest Contractors $65,300 for multiple safety violations, including failing to properly train operators on safety hazards. 

In the wake of Ricketts’ death, the Examiner found that contractor Shimmick Construction did not disclose its history of serious and willful violations, including deadly ones, when bidding on the $40 million SFTMA project.

The transportation agency’s director, Ed Reiskin, later defended the decision to hire Shimmick and called it a “reputable firm” while Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Norman Yee called for stronger procedures to screen companies for contracts.

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