Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Employer tries to cover up cause of worker's death

A former supervisor at a Pittsburgh area construction firm has been convicted of various criminal charges concerning an occupation accident resulting in death that occurred under his watch. The supervisor attempted to hide a workplace violation that may have led to a 29-year old worker falling 42 feet.

The supervisor will face 6-months of house arrest and 3-years of probation because of his conduct. The owner of the construction received the same sentence. His firm has also been fined $539,000 by OSHA for workplace safety violations.

The above incident does demonstrate that employers are not always straight forward with OSHA as to how workplace accidents have occurred. The supervisor attempted to hide a possible violation by putting in place fall protection on the roof that was not present when the worker died. However, the supervisor claimed to OSHA that the fall protection was in place when the accident occurred.

Though such deception may be rare when a worker fatality occurs, it still is foreseeable that such company's may attempt to do so when such companies have a poor safety record to begin and when such companies are trying to shield themselves from liability. Attorneys with investigators and staff may be required to discover exactly how such accidents occurred when the circumstances surrounding such accidents appear perplexing.

While one would hope that employers would always be forthright about providing accurate information, sometimes the decision to avoid liability trumps other considerations. Employers understand the liability they face for negligently causing the death of a worker - especially a worker that is only 29-years old.

Source: WYTV, "Ex-construction supervisor sentenced in Pa. death," Feb. 16, 2012

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