CA Construction Project Manager Convicted of Involuntary Manslaughter after Death of Employee

Photo by Victor, CC BY 2.0

Photo by VictorCC BY 2.0

Project managers and supervisors are responsible for keeping their employees safe and the court system has recently shown that they take that responsibility very seriously.  When supervisors act in a negligent manner and people get hurt or killed, they should be held liable. 

In 2015, an owner of a construction company and a project manager were sentenced to 2 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter after a 36 year old worker was killed by a trench collapse.  Last year, a foreman was convicted of criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment and was sentenced to 1-3 years in prison after another trench collapsed that killed a worker.

Just last week, an Encino, California man was sentenced to 6 months in county jail and 18-months of supervised release after an excavation collapse killed one of his employees, according to the Ventura County Star.  The project manager, who was acting as an unlicensed contractor at the time, faced a prison term of up to 4 years. The man was officially charged with involuntary manslaughter and causing the death of an employee from violating a health or safety standard in July of this year.

The 48-year-old victim died from asphyxia by chest compression while working on a trench during a retaining wall installation. The actual incident happened on September 15, 2011.

Bottom line is: if you’re a supervisor, you should never allow your employees to work in an unsafe excavation and if you’re an employee, you should never think you’re safe in an excavation that is not sloped, shored, or benched. 2016 saw a sharp spike in the amount of trench collapse deaths, more than doubling that of 2015, so there’s still plenty that needs to be done . There are plenty of tools and resources available that explain how to dig a safe excavation, as well.

Full story: Encino man sentenced in death at construction site | Ventura County Star