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State Fines Gilroy $21,600 for Maintenance Worker's Death

Gilroy seeks to appeal fines for David Vogel's March 14 death, stating that it was in compliance with safety standards.

The City of Gilroy received two citations totaling $21,600 Tuesday from the State’s Department of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) related to of maintenance worker on March 14.

Vogel was struck by and killed by a van while performing a routine utility making assignment on Farrell Avenue.

One Cal/OSHA citation alleges that the city failed to effectively implement a written policy identifying hazards, and evaluating procedures for employees performing work in streets with moving traffic. A second citation states that the city did not properly monitor traffic controls, as legally required when employees are working alongside traffic on a moving street.

The city seeks to appeal the citations. The Gilroy Police Department’s Major Investigation Team concluded that the primary cause of the accident was an inattentive driver who was not paying attention to the road when his vehicle struck Vogel.

City Administrator Thomas Haglund stated that he “respectfully disagrees” with the Cal/OSHA citations, he said in a press release.

“Our safety programs are strong, active, and modeled on the State policies and the City and its employees take worker and public safety very seriously,” said Haglund, pointing out that the city received a 100 percent rating from the Association of Bay Area Governments for “establishing a qualified risk management framework.”

Vogel and his co-worker “initially did not believe they would have to enter the roadway” the day of the accident, stated compiled by the Fremont firm Du-all Safety.

The work Vogel and his co-worker set out to accomplish, “typically takes less than a minute,” the report continued. Temporary traffic controls (TTCs) are “not always utilized for short-term work.”

Still, it said, the city used other “short-term protective measures that day.”

A follow-up will be available to this story when more information is available.

Pete Arballo August 03, 2011 at 06:34 AM
I hope everyone learns something from this, if not the city, then the people of the city. When driving you hold not only yer life in yer hands, you hold everyone whom you will come across while driving. We take it for granted and forget that driving is life and death, even if we do it everyday without incident. The city should also bear the fact that something seriously went wrong if a person has died, I really hope the city's standards are as high as they claim - but to solely place the blame on the driver is probably not the best way to go. Was the driver even cited for being negligent? If not, I doubt they have a case. Just please remember that when you are on the road, working or driving, life is something that can be lost.
Michael Tyler August 03, 2011 at 03:25 PM
Ok then ,they said the driver wasnt paying a tension. Did he get a citation .It sound like he should have gone to Jail,for man slaughter,no matter what.Justice is not done here.,,,,,Come on public,You no if it was me or you that hit him ,we would be in Jail for man Slaughter(NOT PAYING ATTENTION WHILE DRIVING) and kill A Person,.
Heather August 04, 2011 at 01:37 AM
Why no charges for being inattentive and not paying attention? This is an outrage under any circumstances.
klm7190 August 05, 2011 at 08:55 PM
It sounds like the City took the appropriate steps. CalOSHA's job is to fine a reason to fine someone, but this is silly. The sad truth is, people die doing their jobs and living their lives on a daily basis. Because it is a government agency, the first thing people want to do is place blame on the big bad government.... It was an accident, and as tragic as it is, not all accidents can be avoided, thus the name accident! In this case, it sounds like the driver was at fault and should be charged for negligent driving, but sounds like the City followed appropriate protocol.
klm7190 August 05, 2011 at 09:22 PM
Yes, what happened to the driver? It sounds like he/she was negligent. Accidents have the name accident for a reason - nobody hits another person with their car on purpose. I hope the driver will use this tragedy as an opportunity to share with others the importance of keeping alert and your eyes on the road at all times. Rather than destroying more families by sending the drivers of deadly accidents to jail, I think it would be a healthy alternative to have those people speak to young drivers in schools or other forums...

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