Workplace fatalities and serious injuries are far too common. Often, company owners or executives are the ones who make choices which result in workers getting hurt or losing their lives. It is the employees who are on the worksites every day who take risks, and those who make the policies that affect their lives are rarely held accountable for the consequences of their decisions.
Workers’ compensation benefits do have to be paid if there is an on-the-job fatality, and an Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer can help those whose family members are killed to get the benefits they need. Companies could also face small fines as a result of violations of safety rules that result in deaths. However, workers’ comp insurers and companies are usually the ones who pay these costs, which means the executives who own or operate the companies don’t usually even face direct financial responsibilities if their decisions turn out to be detrimental to worker health.
One of the few things which could result in a company owner or operator being held accountable is criminal charges. Criminal charges against those who run companies are rare, even when workers die. The Post, however, reported recently that one construction manager has actually been charged with a slew of criminal offenses, including with manslaughter. Cases like this one can serve as a deterrent for bad decisions that endanger workers, although it remains to be seen if the employer will actually be convicted of anything or not.
Preventing Atlanta Workplace Deaths by Holding Company Leaders Accountable
According to The Post, a worker was killed when he was on the sixth floor of a building pouring concrete on a construction project. For workers who are up on this elevated level, safety regulations require the use of a harness and other fall protection measures such as a protective barrier or fencing. The employee did not have any of these fall protection measures keeping him safe.
The employer had been repeatedly told to follow safety rules aimed at preventing falls, and the company owner had received four notices of violations between 2011 and 2014. The owner had been told to put up guardrails and take other protective steps to make his construction worksites safer. While a protective barrier was put up in response to these complaints, however, the barrier did not go to the edge of the building. There was three feet on the other side. To pour concrete in this area, the employees would need to climb over the barrier and would be without a safety harness.
This is exactly what the worker who died did. He was trying to do his job and he fell to his death. The construction company owner has been charged with manslaughter and a variety of other offenses in connection with the fatality. If his not guilty plea is not successful, the case will serve as a warning to other construction company owners who are thinking about cutting corners on safety.
Parsons & Associates, P.C. is an Atlanta workers’ compensation law firm serving Atlanta, Savannah, and surrounding areas throughout Fulton County. Contact Parsons & Associates, P.C. today at 770-422-9000 or contact us online if you have been injured at work.