Concrete Firm Agrees to Pay Criminal Fine

A St. Clair Shores, Mich., concrete company has agreed to pay the maximum criminal fine of $10,000 for alleged safety violations that caused a fatal 2006 trench collapse.

On April 19 in Oakland County Circuit Court, Maco Concrete Inc. pled no contest to the felony charge of a Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) violation that caused the death of employee Jeffrey Padot.

“Maco Concrete employee Jeffrey Padot worked unprotected in an 8-foot trench that collapsed and killed him,” Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth (DLEG) Director Keith Cooley said. “Employers will be held accountable for their actions. If Maco Concrete had provided adequate safeguards and fulfilled their obligation to provide a safe work environment for their employees, this tragedy could have been prevented.”

MIOSHA, which is part of DLEG, investigated the cave-in and found that Maco Concrete violated the most basic provisions of the MIOSHA trenching standard.

On April 23, 2006, according to DLEG, Maco Concrete was digging an excavation of a new sewer line in Addison Township, Mich. Padot and another employee were laying sewer pipe in an unprotected excavation approximately 8 feet deep, with sides that were nearly vertical.

The MIOSHA investigation revealed that the company had at least three non-fatal trench cave-in incidents within 2 months prior to the fatal cave-in that took place on April 23. To ensure worker safety at excavations more than 5 feet deep, MIOSHA reminds employers that walls must be sloped or shored, or trench shields or boxes must be used, to prevent serious injuries or fatalities.

MIOSHA Issued Willful Violations, $103,600 in Fines

On Dec. 18, MIOSHA issued $103,600 in proposed penalties for Maco Concrete's alleged failure to adequately protect employees from trenching and excavation hazards. The company was cited for three alleged willful violations with a proposed penalty of $99,400 and two alleged serious violations with a proposed penalty of $4,200.

Based on provisions in the MIOSH Act, Public Act 154, as amended, every willful violation that is connected to a fatality is referred to the Michigan Attorney General's Office for criminal investigation and/or prosecution. On Dec.19, Attorney General Mike Cox announced that charges were filed against Maco Concrete.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 31 in Oakland County Circuit Court.

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