CAL FIRE and contractor cited by OSHA after 2016 dozer rollover fatality

dozer rollover fatality
The dozer that rolled over on the Soberanes Fire in 2016, killing Robert Reagan. CAL FIRE photo.

Both a private contractor and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) were issued citations by California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) related to a fatality when a dozer rolled over. Robert Reagan, 35, of Friant, California, was killed while fighting the Soberanes Fire south of Monterey, California July 26, 2016.

Minutes after Mr. Reagan began operating the piece of equipment for Czirban Concrete Construction on contract to CAL FIRE, it rolled over. Not wearing a seat belt, he was thrown from the cab and was killed when the dozer rolled onto him.

According to KQED news, Cal/OSHA issued five citations to Czirban totaling $20,000. The largest was $13,500 for not wearing a seat belt.

Czirban had not secured workers’ compensation insurance for Mr. Reagan as required, and had been cited eight times in four years by the Contractors State License Board, several times because of worker’s compensation issues.

Below is an excerpt from an article at KQED in which they point out a number of problems related to contractors working on wildfires:

Cal/OSHA also issued two citations to Cal Fire, one for failing to report a serious injury within eight hours and another for failing to maintain an effective injury and illness prevention program.

“The employer failed to ensure a supervisor was in the immediate area during all bulldozer activities,” Cal/OSHA compliance officer Kelly Tatum wrote in the agency’s citation.

Cal Fire, which also faces a wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of Reagan’s wife and two young daughters, has appealed the findings.

wildfire dozer
File photo of a dozer in South Dakota.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, Bill Gabbert now writes about it from the Black Hills. Google+

2 thoughts on “CAL FIRE and contractor cited by OSHA after 2016 dozer rollover fatality”

  1. Unsupervised. How many DOZB, HEQB types out here have been asked to watch over several pieces of equipment at once, across the whole division? I can only think of one assignment out of several in the past decade where I only had one dozer. I can see me turning down extra equipment unless it is running side by side in suppression repair stage.

  2. Recently listened to a panel who praised the success of the management strategy employed on this incident. The article above reminds me that even in the wildland world their is a price to pay for success. And, at a $270M cost to suprress this fire, I guess we can only stand for one, maybe two, such successes each year.

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