I have investigated an “accident” at a large industrial facility in Florida that happened because the company had intentionally by-passed the safety interlock system on six giant machines. Why had the safety systems been by-passed? To increase the production of the machines and avoid shutdowns.
In my mind, the terrible injury sustained by my client was no “accident” – it was an inevitable result of reckless corporate misconduct. We are not talking about an act of carelessness here. We are talking about intentional wrongdoing.
There can be no safety in the workplace when the employer is an intentional or reckless wrongdoer. Yet, there is no meaningful penalty within the workers’ compensation or civil justice system in Florida for such outrageous conduct. We need what Massachusetts is considering.
A legislative panel in Massachusetts is recommending that company officials face criminal charges if they have recklessly failed to protect workers who are killed on construction sites, according to a published report.
The Boston Globe, citing an advance copy of the report, said it will recommend prison time for officials who may not be impressed with the fines assessed now in such cases.
“The prospect of criminal convictions and jail time send a powerful and necessary message to companies that might not be deterred by a fine,” the report says.