Trenches are a construction jobsite hazard that exist on nearly every construction site involving dirt work, but, their dangers are underestimated all too often. In fact, trench related deaths in 2016 have more than doubled as compared to 2015, according to a recent report from OSHA. There’s no excuse for allowing a trench related death to happen, but it’s rare that job site supervision suffers criminal charges after one occurs. After the death of a 22 year old New York construction worker, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office took a hard stance against those responsible and announced a formal sentence for the on-site foreman last week.
In November, Wilmer Cueva, of Sky Materials, an excavation subcontractor, was criminally convicted of Criminally Negligent Homicide and Reckless Endangerment after he ignored repeated warnings from a safety inspector. His sentencing, which took place on December 15, has resulted in a jail sentence of 1 to 3 years in a state prison.
“Wilmer Cueva knowingly and repeatedly risked his workers’ lives in service of an ambitious construction schedule,” said District Attorney Cyrus R Vance Jr in a press release. “In the face of multiple warnings about the perilous conditions he created at 9-19 Ninth Avenue, Cueva personally directed—and then declined to stop—his illegal excavation work, and Carlos Moncayo, a young man working to support his family, perished needlessly as a result. I hope that the justice obtained for his preventable death will galvanize other construction supervisors to prioritize their workers’ safety ahead of expediency and profit.”
New York has seen a significant uptick in safety incidents recently, having reported a 34% increase in injuries in 2015 versus 2014 in September of last year. After that report was released, the Department of Buildings issued a warning that they would be cracking down on repeat safety offenders. The group also released an “Industry Code of Conduct,” which outlines ethics codes, licensing standards, and abuse of privilege. After this recent conviction and sentencing, it appears that New York was not just barking, they’re backing up their demands with action.
What are your thoughts on this case? Do you agree with the jail sentence for the foreman or do you think the sentencing is unfair?
Full Story: DA VANCE: CONSTRUCTION COMPANY FOREMAN SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR DEATH OF WORKER ON SITE | The New York County District Attorney’s Offic