Concord landscaping company owner faces felony charges following employee’s death

The owner of a Concord landscaping company was charged with two crimes after allegedly failing to train an employee in the proper use of equipment, which led to his death in 2018, Contra Costa district prosecutors said Thursday.

Segundo Collazos, the owner of the Amazon Landscaping Company, was charged this week with the death of Manual Peralta, 68, of Antioch, who died while operating a stump mill in San Ramon.

Collazos denied responsibility for the death during a phone interview on Thursday. He said Peralta, a long-time employee of the company, had worked with the device for several years and made a fatal mistake while operating in 2018.

Prosecutors said Collazos allowed Peralta to work in the “danger zone” of the stump grinder’s cutting wheel and against the manufacturer’s recommendations, resulting in his death. Officials said Collazos did not properly train Peralta on how to use the equipment safely.

“Employers must be made aware that failure to comply with the obligation to train and monitor workers who use hazardous equipment can lead to tragedy and possible jail time,” said Doug Parker, chief executive of Cal OSHA, in a statement.

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According to an OSHA report, Collazos and Peralta were working in the 3700 block of Segovia Court in San Ramon at around 11:30 a.m. on April 9, 2018, when the rope around Peralta’s body got tangled in the stump grinder’s cutting wheel. drag him in and kill him. Collazos, who operated the machine, was fined $ 54,750 for six workplace violations.

Officials said that Collazos’ company, founded in 1992, had a suspended license with the Contractors State License Board at the time of the incident.

Prosecutors advised homeowners to check that a contractor is currently licensed and insured before hiring them to build residential buildings. Homeowners can check license numbers on the Contractors’ State Licensing Board website.

Vanessa Arredondo is a contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @v_anana

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