A Boston grand jury indicted Atlantic Drain Services, Inc. and its owner, Kevin Otto, on charges including two counts of manslaughter, six counts of concealing evidence and one count of intimidating a witness following an investigation into a construction site accident that killed two workers in Boston’s South End in October.
While working at a private residence on October 21, a water main break caused a trench to collapse and flood, killing Atlantic Drain employees Robert Higgins and Kelvin Mattocks. An initial investigation found that Atlantic Drain had failed to follow Federal laws that require trenches to be supported with steel reinforcements and to have an emergency recovery team on site.
During the investigation, the grand jury found that Atlantic Drain had also forged employee signatures for safety training documents, making it appear that the company had complied with past punishments issued in 2007 and 2012 for safety violations.
“We allege that Mr. Otto and Atlantic Drain Services willfully, wantonly and recklessly failed to take the standard safety precautions that could have averted that tragedy,” District Attorney Dan Conley told NBC Boston.
For the personal injury lawyers at Sheff Law, these findings are disappointing but not surprising. We have seen many cases where employers or employees take short cuts with safety, either habitually as a way to save money or because of overconfidence and a desire to “just get the job done.”
By the time a plaintiff arrives at our firm, those short cuts have resulted in a death or a serious injury. We fight to keep employers accountable for worker safety, but we also remind employees that safety is their job as well and that they should refuse to work in unsafe conditions. Most employers will follow safety rules if employees ask. Those that refuse should be reported to OSHA.
Sheff Law provides free consultations for workers and family members of workers injured or killed in workplace accidents. Every Sheff client gets a team of experienced personal injury lawyers and compassionate support throughout litigation. For more information, please call us at 1-888-423-4477 or contact us online.