OSHA: Construction Companies Fined Nearly $30,000 in Fatal Construction Accident

Two construction companies were ordered to pay nearly $30,000 in fines for a dislodged mud pipe that struck a construction worker in San Ysidro, knocking him off his platform in May, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said Wednesday.

56-year-old Frederick Von Kahl, of Wyoming, died on May 31 when a valve ruptured and struck him in the chest in San Ysidro, a spokesperson for OSHA told NBC 7.

The incident occurred on the 5700 block of Camiones Way near the U.S.-Mexico border and Interstate 5.

According to Von Kahl's autopsy report, released Tuesday, Earth Tech employed him and sub-contracted Atkinson Clark to perform drill rig operations at the San Ysidro construction site.

His work partner had stepped away to use the bathroom when he heard a loud noise, according to the investigation report on the autopsy.

"When he turned around, he saw Von Kahl fall to the ground," investigators wrote. "Site management was notified and 911 was called."

Investigators said Von Kahl had a "large wound" to his chest.

"Compressions were initiated, but he was not shockable per the automated electronic defibrillator," investigators wrote.

Neither Earth Tech Well Drilling nor Atkinson Clark knew what caused the mud pipe to dislodge, but witnesses said the hose was reportedly in the "closed" position prior to dislodging.

Both companies were issued serious citations, totaling $27,000 in proposed penalties, and have appealed their citations.

NBC 7 requested copies of the full OSHA reports and will update this story once those are received.

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