- A Brooklyn, NY, contractor and his companies have been charged with manslaughter and homicide in connection with an April 2015 incident in which one of his employees, working with no safety equipment, plunged six stories to his death, according to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
- Prosecutors alleged that Salvatore Schirripa — owner of J & M Metro General Contracting Corp. and Metrotech Development Corp. — and employees were pouring and finishing concrete on the sixth floor of a Coney Island building when 50-year-old Mexican immigrant worker Vidal Sanchez-Ramon walked backwards off the edge.
- Since 2011, the New York City Department of Buildings issued Schirripa three Notices of Violation for failing to provide guardrails and handrails meant to prevent falls, according to the Daily Eagle.
Charges against Schirripa and his companies include second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, second-degree reckless endangerment, first-degree charges related to falsifying documents, and violations of workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance laws. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson said this action against Schirripa and his companies sends a message that the city is committed to ensuring safe construction work practices.
In November, a New York Times report revealed that worker deaths in the city had increased over a two-year period due to insufficient safety measures. In addition, The Times reported that immigrant worker deaths were disproportionately higher, primarily due to hesitancy on the part of workers to reveal their legal status by forcing the issue of safety with their employers.
The cultural disconnect, lack of training and language barriers were likely contributing factors to a 32% increase in Latino immigrant construction worker deaths between 2010 and 2014, according to the AFL-CIO. In addition, the organization's report revealed that 233 Latino construction workers died in 2014, the most of any industry, along with 217 immigrant workers.