Four former managers at a pipe manufacturing company have lost their latest appeal of prison sentences and financial penalties in connection with several safety and environmental compliance violations.
Atlantic States Cast Iron Pipe Co. and the managers were also convicted of covering up the violations.
The following sentences, originally handed down in 2009, still stand:
- former plant manager John Prisque, 70 months (almost six years) in prison
- former human resources manager Scott Faubert (who was in charge of safety), 41 months (almost 3.5 years) in prison
- former maintenance supervisor Jeffrey Maury, 30 months (2.5 years) in prison
- former supervisor Craig Davidson, six months in prison, and
- the company, four years probation and an $8 million fine.
The convictions and sentences stem from a number of safety and environmental incidents at Atlantic’s Phillipsburg, NJ, plant in the late 1990s and early 2000s, including:
- An employee was run over and killed by a forklift. The operator had never received forklift training. A document claimed the forklift was in “perfect operating condition.” However, other documents showed the forklift had several problems, including defective brakes. Management concealed that the brakes hadn’t been working at the time of the fatality and were the cause of the collision.
- Another employee had been struck by a forklift and suffered a broken leg. The incident wasn’t recorded on the plant’s OSHA logs. When the incident was later uncovered, the managers took steps to conceal from OSHA the extent of the employee’s injuries.
- An employee lost his eye when a piece of rotating blade from the saw he was using broke off and struck him in the face. Machine guarding was added to the saw after the injury but before an OSHA inspector visited. The managers worked to cover up the fact that the saw didn’t have proper guarding when the employee was injured.
- An employee lost three fingers in an incident involving a cement mixer. The employee had been cleaning the machine when another worker activated it. The employee’s fingers were amputated by the mixer’s rotating blades. A manager told OSHA the mixer hadn’t come with a safety shutdown switch. In fact, the mixer had come with the safety switch, but a manager instructed a worker to bypass the switch because it slowed production.
- The company also had a series of Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act violations, including dumping waste water into a river when it should have been contained and recycled.
The company and four men have two weeks to file for a rehearing. If they’re denied, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will file a motion asking for the sentences to begin.
The appeal related to issues of pretrial discovery, the court’s handling of the trial, jury instructions and the court’s sentencing determinations.
Atlantic is owned by McWane Inc. of Birmingham, AL. The company issued a statement maintaining the innocence of the four men and Atlantic.
(United States of America v. Maury, Davidson, Prisque, Faubert, Atlantic States, U.S. Circuit Crt. 3, 9/17/12) (PDF)