A New York State Supreme Court judge ordered a general contractor to either create a TV public service announcement or pay a $10,000 fine for its role in the death of an employee at a construction site.
Harco Construction LLC was convicted in June of second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and three counts of reckless endangerment in the second-degree in the death of Carlos Moncayo. The 22-year-old worker died in a 2015 trench collapse in Manhattan.
Prosecutor successfully argued that Harco ignored federal and local regulations and failed to shore up the 13-foot-deep trench. The company also disregarded repeated safety warnings.
At a sentencing hearing yesterday, Justice A. Kirke Bartley Jr. acted upon the prosecutor’s request that Harco be required to create PSAs about worksite safety, in both English and Spanish.
News sources are reporting that Harco’s defense attorney said the company will not comply with the order, and plans to appeal the conviction. Attorney Ronald Fischetti said the order violates the company’s first amendment rights and would be an admission of guilt.
Worker safety advocates are hoping the verdict against Harco will bring about an emphasis on safety in New York’s construction industry, which has high occupational fatality and injury rates.
Bartley said Harco will face the maximum penalty—a fine of $10,000—if it doesn’t comply with the decision.