LAFD clashes with safety regulators over firefighter’s tragic death
On June 3, 2017, the Los Angeles Fire Department suffered the tragic death of firefighter Kelly Wong during a training exercise. Wong, a two-year veteran of the LAFD, fell 65 feet after losing his grip as the “top member” of his team. Firefighter Wong died two days later after suffering traumatic injuries from the fall.
One year later, the LAFD and California state safety regulators remain at odds over the investigation into Wong’s death. According to the Los Angeles Times, which cites the findings of the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s investigation, (Cal/OSHA) Wong’s death, “was caused by [Wong] carrying the roof kit in his hand, rather than secured to his back, thereby not allowing him to maintain three points of contact while ascending the ladder.”
The investigation into firefighter Wong’s death concluded with Cal/OSHA ordering the LAFD to implement safety policies that mandate that firefighters must maintain three points of contact with the ladder at all times. However, attorneys speaking on behalf of the Department argue that the order from Cal/OSHA is “vague and ambiguous” and have also contested the $2,060 fine levied against LAFD over its handling of ladders and their procedures for identifying workplace hazards.
The next hearing on the order levied against LAFD is scheduled for October. We here at Firefighters and EMS Fund will continue to provide updates on this tragic story as it continues to unfold.
You can read the full LA Times report here.