Construction Company charged inManslaughter

A construction Company was charged last Friday with Manslaughter after one of their workers was killed on site. The courts found “the company, Harco Construction, guilty of second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide, both felonies, and reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor, in the death of the victim, aged 22, an immigrant from Ecuador who lived in Queens. The company was acquitted of one additional charge of reckless endangerment.Prosecutors with the Manhattan district attorney’s office argued that Harco had ignored repeated warnings about dangerous conditions at a site on Ninth Avenue in the meatpacking district, not far from the High Line. The judge agreed, and found that the company’s negligence had contributed to the collapse of a 14-foot trench on April 6, 2015, when the victim was crushed by thousands of pounds of dirt.”

The fines the company might have to pay may add up to $35,000. “Criminal liability has often been hard to prove in construction accidents in New York City. In 2012, the owner of a crane company, was acquitted of all criminal charges in connection with the collapse of a tower crane that killed two workers. But in a subsequent civil trial, a jury awarded the workers’ families $96 million.”

5 works have been killed in construction accidents this year alone; and 12 were killed in 2015. Construction accidents have been steadily increasing in recent years and many of these accidents were avoidable according to federal safety investigators. “Many of the victims were undocumented and sometimes poorly trained immigrants. A recent New York Times investigation into construction fatalities found that the rise in deaths and injuries has far exceeded the rate of new construction over a comparable period, and that in the cases in which workers died, supervision was lacking and basic steps had not been taken to prevent workers from falling. The investigation also found that because of the urgency to finish these projects as quickly as possible, the workers were forced to take dangerous shortcuts or lacked adequate training.”

Source: NY Times


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