Cal/OSHA fined LAX contractor Menzies Aviation $77,250 on Wednesday for three accident-related workplace safety violations found during an investigation prompted by the Feb. 21 death of a 51-year-old baggage cart tug driver who fell off the vehicle.
According to a coroner’s report, Cesar Valenzuela died of blunt trauma.
Hypertrophic heart disease was listed a contributing factor, but the report said it was not directly related to his death.
The tug had a non-functioning seatbelt.
Cal/OSHA investigators determined Menzies’ safety policy did not require seat belts and discouraged the use of safety belts in parts areas of the airport.
“This fatality could have been prevented with a well thought-out and implemented safety plan, as is required for all worksites in California,” said Christine Baker, director of the Department of Industrial Relations, which includes the Division of Occupational Safety and Health.
Valenzuela was found with his head pinned underneath one of the tires.
Cal/OSHA investigators determined part of the seat belt was missing.
California safety regulations require a restraint system on tow tractors and industrial trucks. Menzies’ vehicle inspection procedures also were found to be inadequate.
Cal/OSHA investigators said numerous employees were seen driving tugs or tow tractors without seat belts or other restraints. The contractor, based in Scotland, had a written policy that required workers to use seatbelts only when traveling on marked roadways — not airport services roads.
Menzies Aviation inaccurately reported the fatal accident to Cal/OSHA as a heart attack, which resulted in a citation for a regulatory violation, according to the agency.