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Company faces criminal charges in construction worker's death (12/20)

December 20, 2006
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A concrete company in Michigan was criminally charged Tuesday in the death of a worker who suffocated in a trench that collapsed at a worksite.

Maco Concrete Inc. willfully violated the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act in connection with the April 23 death of Jeffrey Padot, Attorney General Mike Cox said in a news release.

The St. Clair Shores-based company was charged with failing to provide a hazard-free workplace, a one-year felony carrying a fine of up to $10,000.

Padot, 41, of Eastpointe, and another worker were laying sewer pipes in a 10-foot-deep trench at a home in Oakland County''''s Addison Township. The other worker was rescued after the trench walls collapsed.

Construction companies are required by OSHA to use a trench box for earthen trenches of a certain depth, according to Deni Giannandrea of San Angelo Construction, which, like Maco, operates in Michigan’s Oakland County. “As the owner, you’re responsible for making that jobsite safe, and knowing the dangers,” said Giannandrea.

Investigators determined that the earthen trench walls were nearly vertical and were not supported or shored to reduce the risk of collapse, in violation of MIOSHA requirements.

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