The owner of a Concord-based landscaping company was charged this week with two felonies in connection with the death of an employee at a worksite in San Ramon nearly three years ago, prosecutors said Thursday.
The Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office and state investigators allege Segundo Collazos, owner of Amazon’s Landscaping Company, was negligent under the California Labor Code as an employer ahead of the death of Manuel Peralta on the job.
Peralta, 68, of Antioch died while operating a rented tree stump grinder in San Ramon on April 9, 2018.
According to prosecutors, Collazos' license with the Contractors State License Board was suspended at the time of the incident. Peralta's death initiated an investigation by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) Bureau of Investigations.
The first felony charge alleges that Collazos allowed Peralta to use a stump grinder in a manner contrary to the manufacturer's recommendations and work within the danger zone of the cutting wheel, which resulted in the worker's death.
Prosecutors allege in the second count that Collazos failed to properly train Peralta on the proper and safe use of the stump grinder, which also contributed to his death.
It was not immediately clear whether Collazos, 66, has entered a plea to the charges or whether he's represented by an attorney yet.
"When a Cal/OSHA investigation reveals evidence a worker’s serious injury or death involves criminal misconduct, our Bureau of Investigations Unit refers those cases to the local District Attorney’s Office for prosecution," Cal/OSHA chief Doug Parker said in a statement. "We thank the Contra Costa County District Attorney for their work on this case. Employers must be made aware that disregarding the requirement to train and supervise workers using dangerous equipment can lead to tragedy and possible jail time."
The DA's Office also took the opportunity to remind homeowners to double check that a prospective contractor is currently licensed and insured before hiring them for residential construction work.
Homeowners can check the validity of a license number on the Contractors' State Licensing Board website or call 800-321-CSLB (2752), prosecutors said.