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Construction workers' accidents lead to criminal charges

The owner of a New York construction contracting company faces severe punishment after being indicted on multiple charges including second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. These charges are related to construction workers' accidents and violations of unemployment and workers' compensation laws. It was reported that he may be facing as many as 15 years behind bars.

The shocking disregard of workers' safety by this company owner is unacceptable. The charges relate to the death of an employee in April last year. The employee was working at the sixth floor level of a building where he was smoothing concrete. Unfortunately, he was not equipped with a harness or any form of protection that could have prevented his death when he fell. What makes this violation even more shocking is the fact that OSHA inspectors visited the site shortly before the incident and warned the company about the unsafe conditions.

Workers should not be expected to put their lives on the line for business owners whose only interest is profit. Reportedly, this company was cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for similar violations on several prior occasions. It was cited twice within four months in 2011, and one time each in 2013 and 2014. In all these instances, OSHA inspectors found workers exposed to life-threatening fall hazards.

New York employees of construction companies have a right to safe workplace environments. Any victims of construction workers' accidents are entitled to pursue financial assistance to help them cope with medical expenses and lost wages if their injuries caused absences from work. Workers may file workers' compensation insurance benefits claims regardless of who was at fault. Only in cases of egregious negligence by an employer may any legal action be taken against the company.

Source: constructionequipment.com, "Manslaughter Charges for New York Contractor", June 7, 2016

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