An attorney for a general contractor says it’ll fight a judge’s sentence in connection with the company’s involvement in a worker’s death.
Calling the sentence “illegal,” an attorney for Harco Construction LLC says the company will fight a judge’s order for the company to create a TV public service announcement (PSA) as its sentence for involvement in a worker’s death.
Harco was ordered to produce the PSA in connection with the death of 22-year-old Carlos Moncayo who was crushed to death when an unshored, 13-foot-deep trench collapsed at a New York City construction site.
The company was convicted in June of five counts: second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and three counts of reckless endangerment.
If Harco doesn’t comply with the order to make the PSA, it faces the maximum $10,000 fine, according to the judge’s sentence.
A joint statement by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and Department of Investigations Commissioner Mark Peters said, “This conviction sends the message that general contractors cannot avoid criminal responsibility for worker safety, even if the workers are not their employees.”
The statement also called for stiffer penalties in similar cases.
Two supervisors and one other construction company still face the same charges as Harco. Those cases are still pending.
Besides disputing the penalty, Harco said earlier that it would also appeal the verdict in the case. The company’s lawyer said it wasn’t guilty of any criminal activity whatsoever.
OSHA fined the two construction companies involved in the death a total of $280,000. Trenches must have protection against collapse when they reach five-feet deep, according to OSHA.
Supervisors at the construction site had received several warnings previously about trenching hazards from inspectors.
Harco isn’t the only entity displeased with the verdict which is believed to be the first trial conviction of a construction company in Manhattan in such a case in recent memory.
A spokesman for Building New York City, an organization of contractors, said the sentence would “potentially harm even the most diligent contractors [and] will not make a single worker any safer,” according to a statement in The Wall Street Journal.