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
Last July, a 13 story building in Miami Beach that undergoing a demolition suddenly fell, amid odd circumstances, and flying debris fatally injured one of the contractor’s project managers. Now, the family of the man killed is filing lawsuits against all parties involved with the demolition, calling it “illegal” and “reckless.”
Construction is hard work and those working hard for your company should be paid in full and on-time for all hours worked. Cash flow can certainly complicate things for contractors, as pay draws can be delayed for various reasons, but cheating workers out of money is not only unscrupulous, but is gaining attention from government agencies.
Even though OSHA recently eliminated the need for employers to electronically submit OSHA Forms 300 and 301, citing privacy concerns, companies are still responsible for submitting OSHA Form 300A – and the deadline is fast approaching.
Multi-employer worksites are extremely common in the construction industry, but they can still make work extremely complicated. One of those complications results when a subcontractor receives a governmental violation, such as an OSHA violation. As a controlling employer on the site, can a general contractor be held responsible for safety hazards of a subcontractor? One court says yes.
Be careful - owners and contractors are now being held criminally liable for their carelessness and disregard of safety protocols.
Last November, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. announced felonious assault charges against a contractor’s superintendent and a manufacturer’s branch manager after two men suffered horrific injuries on a New York jobsite. Last week, OSHA formally announced citations against the St. Louis, Missouri based contractor.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R Vance Jr strikes again on his hard stance against corruption and safety negligence in the construction industry. A Few weeks ago, he announced assault charges against a superintendent and a manager after 2 construction workers were seriously injured on a jobsite. In 2016, he successfully convicted a construction foreman of criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment after a laborer was killed in a trench collapse that he was overseeing. Just last week, Vance announced charges against formers Turner Construction and Bloomberg LP executives in a $15M bid-rigging and commercial bribery conspiracy.
In September of 2017, OSHA’s new standard on exposure to respirable crystalline silica went into effect in the construction industry. The rule lowered the allowable exposure to the harmful substance to 50 micrograms per cubic meter, a measurement that we’re all familiar with [/sarcasm]. After a full year of enforcement, OSHA is considering making a change to the rule.
Three common construction contract provisions—hold harmless, indemnification, and duty to defend—are often found together taking a form something like this: