One of the construction supervisors convicted in the 2015 death of a young worker has been sentenced to one to three years in prison.
The sentencing of a foreman comes roughly a month and a half after he was found guilty of criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment in the death of the 22- year-old worker. He will serve his time in a state prison, according to a press release from the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
The man sentenced was the supervisor for a subcontractor when a trench collapsed on April 6, 2015. One of the laborers working in the hole at the time was not able to escape and was buried by the crumbling walls – suffocating to death.
A Manhattan District Attorney indicted the foreman and his firm along with the general contractor in August 2015 on a slew of charges.
“[The foreman] knowingly and repeatedly risked his workers’ lives in service of an ambitious construction schedule,” said the district attorney in prepared remarks. “In the face of multiple warnings about the perilous conditions he created he personally directed-and then declined to stop-his illegal excavation work, and a young man working to support his family perished needlessly as a result.”
The attorney for the foreman did not immediately return a call for comment.
The general contractor was found guilty of manslaughter in June, and sentenced a month later to taking part in and fund a public awareness campaign promoting worker safety. The attorney for the GC declined to take the punishment at sentencing, however, on the grounds that it would admit the firm was guilty (it had maintained innocence throughout the trial and put the onus on the subcontractor). Instead, he said at the time, his company would rather pay a $10,000 fine, and is currently appealing the decision.
The death of the worker, an Ecuadorian immigrant, sent a ripple effect through the construction industry. The DA’s office in response set up a safety task force that reaches out to workers-many of whom are undocumented-to inform them of their workplace rights. The task force has reached out to roughly 850 workers since January.