A Boston area court sentenced Kivin Otto, owner of Atlantic Drain Services Company, Inc., to 2 years in prison after a trench collapse in 2016 resulted in the tragic deaths of two employees.
Otto was convicted of two counts of manslaughter, and other charges, including witness intimidation after Otto tried to interfere with the OSHA investigation.
The local OSHA representative stated: “Employers that display willful disregard for employee safety and/or obstruct, mislead or otherwise interfere with an OSHA inspection will face serious consequences.” “The court agreed Kevin Otto knew what safeguards were needed and required to protect his employees, yet he chose to ignore his responsibility to provide them. The result was the loss of two men.”
This is the most recent example of OSHA enforcing it’s criminal liability option to send business owners to jail as a result of willful disregard of safety laws, which results in the death of an employee. At least 2 other similar criminal prosecutions occurred early this year, which may indicate a new aggressive enforcement trend.