State workplace safety officials have fined UC Berkeley more than $26,000 for violations in connection with the death of a custodian who tumbled 22 feet from a lift that collapsed as he was cleaning windows in April.
California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health determined that supervisors of the custodian, Damon Frick, 45, of Richmond failed to ensure that the lift was assembled correctly and allowed Frick to use it unsupervised.
UC Berkeley said that as he assembled the lift, Frick apparently ignored a label warning of "serious injury or death" if a certain piece was inserted as Frick did it.
At the same time, "we have documentation that Mr. Frick was fully trained in use of this lift," the university said.
But the training was ineffective because it was provided more than two years earlier, Cal/OSHA inspectors said.
"This unit is used approximately once a year with no in-between training or practice," according to the citation issued Sept. 9. "The training was ineffective as the last training was provided on March 12, 2012.
On April 7, Frick was vacuuming auditorium window sills at International House at 2299 Piedmont Ave. while standing on an elevated platform made by Upright Lifts Inc.
At 7:45 a.m., another employee heard a crash, rushed to the auditorium, and found Frick "flat on his back on the floor along with the lift that tipped over," inspectors said.
There were no witnesses. Frick was taken by ambulance...
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