Two executives and two companies face prison time and huge financial penalties in connection with the deaths of five workers in a workplace fire.
Xcel Energy and RPI Coating, Inc., each face fines up to $2.5 million and restitution, while RPI executives Philippe Goutagny and James Thompson each face 2.5 years in prison and a fine of up to $1.25 million.
On Oct. 2, 2007, vapor from a solvent ignited inside a tunnel at a Colorado hydroelectric plant. Workers inside survived initially, but were overcome by smoke and fumes and died from asphyxiation.
A federal indictment alleges the companies knew about the hazards in the tunnel and did nothing about them.
It also accuses RPI of trying to cover up safety shortfalls by altering, destroying or concealing the cameras, journals and cell phone of two of the dead workers.
The companies failed to get a permit for the work or assess the tunnel for hazards, according to the indictment.
OSHA proposed $845,100 in fines against RPI and $189,900 against Xcel.
The indictment can be downloaded here (PDF).
If the executives are found guilty in a trial, are jail time and fines warranted? Let us know in the Comments Box below.