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Construction Company Execs Jailed Over Death

Two former construction company executives received six-month prison terms Monday for covering up safety lapses in a worker's fatal fall.

The executives and their company, LeMaster Steel Erectors Inc., Elkhart, Ind., pleaded guilty in June to charges they lied to OSHA inspectors investigating the 1996 accident.

Worker Jeffrey Highfill died Aug. 9, 1996, when he fell more than 25 feet from a rooftop at a construction site in Mason, Ohio, 20 miles north of Cincinnati.

Jay Holloman, 41, the company's Ohio regional supervisor, and Michael A. Onyon, 44, the company's safety director, were each sentenced to six months in prison and fined $2,000.

They will also serve three years on probation after their release. According to company official, both men have been fired.

LeMaster Steel, which was fine $300,000 Monday and placed on probation for five years, also admitted in June that it willfully violated federal regulations requiring protection from falls, and that the company caused the death of an employee.

The fine is almost one-third of LeMaster Steel's annual profit, management said.

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