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Site Told to Close Before Accident

State safety inspectors ordered a Rolling Hills Estates construction area to be closed last month, nearly three weeks before a worker was impaled in the shoulder by a metal rod.

The stop-work order was in effect Tuesday when Andres De La Hoya, 25, fell into a 46-foot hole inside the restricted area, California Occupational Health and Safety Administration spokesman Richard Stephens said.

Officials responding to a complaint about unsafe working conditions inspected the construction site at 21 Pear Tree Lane on Aug. 14, Stephens said. The inspectors ordered the primary contractor, Reconstruction Masters Inc. of San Diego, to stop work until a plan could be worked out for improving the shoring in several caisson holes being dug to stabilize a house foundation.

In the accident Tuesday, De La Hoya fell about 25 feet down the hole, where his shoulder was impaled on a steel reinforcing bar. Rescuers used a cutting torch to sever the nearly inch-thick steel rod; De La Hoya was then taken by helicopter to County Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where doctors removed the bar. He was listed in stable condition at the hospital on Thursday.

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A second investigation has been launched into why De La Hoya--who was employed by subcontractor Krous Drilling & Construction--was in the restricted area and how he fell into the hole, Stephens said.

Neither the contractor nor the subcontractor could be reached for comment Thursday.


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