Dario Pini
Paul Wellman (file)

Cal/OSHA has found Santa Barbara landlord Dario Pini engaged in willful safety violations when last October he removed a red tag from scaffolding on a State Street motel property he was renovating and ordered his workers to keep using it. The “red tag” stop work order denotes serious safety concerns by state inspectors; anything so designated is not to be used until the problem has been rectified.

According to a press statement issued by Cal/OSHA, when their inspectors returned 11 days later, they discovered the scaffolding was back in use, the red tag gone, but that the safety issues had not been addressed. According to the press release, Pini — well known for his constant legal skirmishes with zoning officers and building inspectors — faces more than $72,000 in fines.

The scaffolding had been deemed unsafe because it lacked guardrails, a ladder, and a foundation plate to keep the project stable and prevent wobbling. Upon their return, the Cal/OSHA inspectors issued a stop-work order. The property in question is a two-story motel at 1816 State Street that Pini had recently bought.

Cal/OSHA also faulted Pini for not reporting that one of his employees, a carpenter, at the same site had fallen from a second-story window at the same work site last August, sustaining “multiple fractures” that required hospitalization. The scaffolding was not involved in that incident. Earlier this year, Pini pled no contest to criminal charges filed by the District Attorney for the same scaffolding issue and received a fine of $1,000 and probation.


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