A construction company and its owner have pleaded guilty to violating OSHA regulations resulting in the death of a Hudson Valley construction worker and the injury of another in 2017.
OneKey, a New Jersey construction company, and its owner, Finbar O'Neill, pleaded guilty on Thursday, Feb. 2, said Damian Williams, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
According to statements and filings in federal court: In 2017, OneKey and O’Neill implemented a soil compaction plan at a construction site in Dutchess County at 1 Dutchess Ave. in Poughkeepsie. The soil compaction plan involved piling large quantities of dirt, called “surcharges,” on top of the sites of three future buildings.
An engineering firm designed a plan for the use of the surcharges. OneKey and O'Neil did not follow this plan, court documents show. Instead, they built a wall to hold back one of the surcharges, so workers could get started on the buildings next to it.
Neither OneKey nor O'Neill consulted with any qualified person to see if the wall could withstand the weight to be placed on it by the surcharge, court documents showed.
While people were working next to the wall, OneKey kept using construction machinery to add dirt to the surcharge pressing up against the wall. The people working near the wall were not warned about the dangers it created but did complain that the wall was not safe. Nothing was done to fix the wall, the documents show.
On Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017, workers complained that construction machines were driving on top of the surcharge, adding dirt to it. Later that day, the wall collapsed. As it fell, the victim ran away from the wall, but he could not get away in time and was killed, officials said. Another worker suffered a broken arm and other injuries.
OneKey pled guilty to one count of a willful violation of OSHA regulations resulting in death. The count carries a maximum fine of $500,000.
O’Neill, age 57, of Paramus, New Jersey, pled guilty to one count of a willful violation of OSHA regulations resulting in death. The count carries a maximum sentence of six months in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.
They are scheduled to be sentenced in May.
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