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Worker Death vs. Employer Responsibility

On August 15, 2009, a 29 year old man was working on a pitched roof, 40 feet off the ground without fall protection on a Washington, Pennsylvania worksite. Unfortunately, this young man never returned home after work. Carl Beck was working for roofing contractor C.A. Franc Construction who was a subcontractor of Hospitality Builders Inc. when he fell from the roof and died.

In a News Release by the U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA began their investigation immediately following the news of the workers death and found the C.A. Franc Construction failed to provide any fall protection to its employees (10 workers in all) and had never trained newly hired employees in hazards and safety measures for roof work. OSHA cited the company 10 per-instance willful violations (10 workers in all) with a proposed penalty of $490,000 along with one additional willful violation for failing to train the new employee with a proposed penalty of $49,000.

Christopher A. Franc, owner of C.A. Franc Construction entered a guilty plea in federal court and was recently sentenced to six (6) months of house arrest and three (3) years probation. During the investigation, officials were told that soon after the fall occurred, Mr. Franc told a worker to quickly bring fall protection equipment up to the roof to make it look like the equipment was there all along. This proved Mr. Franc knew he had to have his employees protected from falls but did nothing till it was too late.

So is it fair that he was only sentenced to six months of house arrest?

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