OSHA can’t send people responsible for workplace safety to jail. But they can refer cases to local prosecutors who are able to seek prison time. That’s what happened in this case, and now two men will be locked up.
Sam Hyung Goo Shim, owner of roofing company California C&R, and his foreman, Jwa Young Kim, have both been sentenced to county jail in connection with the January 2008 death of an employee. Shim will serve one year. Kim will serve at least six months of a one-year sentence.
Antonio Martinez was one of several employees working on a roofing project at a four-story apartment building in San Francisco. As he was working along the roof’s edge, Martinez fell 38 feet to the sidewalk below. The fall killed him.
Cal/OSHA found that there were no safety measures in place at the work site.
Even though the foreman was present, workers on the roof didn’t have harnesses or any other type of fall protection. There were no railings, scaffolds or other barriers to prevent a fall. There were also no written safety policies or safety training.
Cal/OSHA fined California C&R $70,485. But that’s not all it did. It also referred the case to the San Francisco District Attorney.
The DA prosecuted, and the owner and foreman negotiated a plea agreement. The men must also pay restitution.
Shim pled guilty to four felonies: involuntary manslaughter, willful violation of a Cal/OSHA order causing death, workers compensation premium fraud and tax evasion.
Kim pled guilty to one misdemeanor count of violation of state labor code.
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