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When is a lack of safety at a construction site criminal?

It is not surprising the some construction sites are safer than others. But just when does a lack of safety warrant criminal charges? A construction site boss in New York may soon provide the answer to this question. The man is facing manslaughter and other criminal charges after a worker fell six stories to his death.

The accident is tragic and could have been much worse if pedestrians had been nearby at the time.

The problem that led to the accident: the site failed to follow required safety regulations. Added to this issue, the boss had a history of failing to follow similar regulations.

As a result, the construction owner is facing charges of second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, reckless endangerment, falsifying business records and violation of the workers' compensation law, as noted in a recent article in the New York Post.

Safety regulations and falls

Various regulations are present to help reduce the risk of injuries from falls. These regulations were developed not just to protect construction workers, but to protect anyone that may be around the site. Even pedestrians walking past a site can face serious injury if these regulations are not followed.

At this site, guardrails were required. The site contained the rails, but the rails were not installed according to the regulation.

The rails were three feet from the edge.

Due to the gap between the rails and the ledge, workers were required to step over the ledge to complete their work. This work was done without the use of harnesses or other safety measures.

Repeat violations call for accountability

This was not the first time this construction company owner faced allegations of failing to follow required safety measures. He had received four notices of violation between 2011 and 2014. These violations were for similar issues, involving requirements for safety rails such as guardrails and handrails.

This history could come up if the case goes to trial. If convicted, the owner could face up to 15 years of prison time.

Lessons for New Yorkers

This case provides an example of the dangers that can be present around construction sites. Construction workers, pedestrians and anyone near a site can face injuries when these regulations are not followed.

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