- The owner and project manager of a California construction company, U.S. Sino Investment Inc., were each convicted Tuesday of involuntary manslaughter following the 2012 cave-in death of a 36-year-old worker. The owner was also convicted of three felony labor code violations for causing an employee's death through negligence.
- Days before Raul Zapata Mercado, of Zacatecas, Mexico, was killed at the Milpitas, CA, site, an inspector cited the unfortified dirt wall as being prone to collapse. The inspector issued an order for work to stop.
- After the wall collapsed, OSHA levied numerous safety violations against the company.
Company owner Richard Liu and manager Dan Luo were held responsible in what prosecutors say is "a rare trial aimed at holding an employer criminally responsible for the death of an employee on the job."
The worker's death occurred after a subcontractor left the job due to lack of payment and other citations from inspectors. The deputy district attorney said the company was pressing to stay on schedule to complete a $700,000 home. Both the owner and manager face up to four years in prison, and will receive their sentence on July 17.
Zapata's death comes at a time when scrutiny of Latino construction worker fatalities has heightened, as Bureau of Labor Statistics data revealed the group is dying on job sites at a faster rate than non-Latinos.