California Pulls Builder’s License After Worker Death

February 6, 2012

State officials have suspended the license of the builder of a Milpitas home where a carpenter was buried alive last weekend.

The Contractors State License Board said Friday that it suspended the general building contractor license of US-Sino Investment, Inc. because the company had failed to comply with state workers’ compensation insurance laws.

The board says though licensed contractors are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for all employees, US-Sino Investment had an exemption claiming that it had no employees.

“Workers’ compensation laws are in place for the protection of workers who are vital to the state’s construction industry, as well as to protect the consumers who might otherwise be held liable when injury occurs,” board Registrar Steve Sands said in a statement.

“Those who fail to properly protect their employees with workers’ compensation insurance not only put them at risk but undermine the integrity of the entire construction industry,” the statement said.

Carpenter Raul Zapata died on Saturday when he was buried in a 12-foot trench at the worksite.

Earlier this week, officials with the California Occupation Health and Safety Administration said the company did not have a proper permit for its work on the 5,800-square-foot home.

Milpitas officials had issued a stop-work order three days before the accident because of concerns over a rain-soaked hillside.

Milpitas chief building inspector Keyvan Irannejad said after the deadly incident that he had been unable to contact Richard Liu, listed as CEO of US-Sino Investment.

Attempts by The Associated Press to reach Liu and the company Friday evening were unsuccessful.

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