TEXT OF STORY
Renita Jablonski: There’ve been at least 15 construction-related deaths in New York City so far this year. An owner of a construction site in Brooklyn was charged with manslaughter this week after a worker died on the job. Alisa Roth takes a look at whether such a charge will put pressure on builders.
Alisa Roth: The worker died when a trench he was digging collapsed. The construction site’s owner is being charged with manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment. He’s being held on a $25,000 bond.
David Uhlmann: The city is sending a message to construction companies that they need to make worker safety a priority.
David Uhlmann’s a law professor at the University of Michigan. He says this kind of accidental death doesn’t fit precisely into the definition of manslaughter. But New York’s trying to make a point.
The district attorney prosecuting the case and the city’s building commissioner both say they’ll pursue more of these lawsuits in the future.
Uhlmann says those cases may not end with a prosecution. But authorities don’t have many alternatives since even at the federal level, this kind of crime is only a misdemeanor under workplace protection laws.
In New York, I’m Alisa Roth for Marketplace.
There’s a lot happening in the world. Through it all, Marketplace is here for you.
You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible.
Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.