Worker's Death Results in Prison Term for Company Owner and Project Manager

Cal/OSHA's criminal investigation into a cave-in death led to the decision.

A criminal investigation by Cal/OSHA into a 2012 cave-in death of a worker in Malpitas, Calif., has resulted in a prison sentence for his employer and his project manager, according to an Aug. 3 news release from the agency.

Richard Liu, owner of U.S. Sino Investment, and project manager Dan Luo have been sentenced to two years in prison for involuntary manslaughter. The charges stem from a Jan. 28, 2012, incident in which a worker was installing a concrete foundation for a retaining wall at a residential construction. The 12-foot-high wall collapsed, burying him alive before rescue workers could arrive at the scene.

Three days prior, a building inspector had issued a stop-work notice for failure to provide shoring on the excavation, according to the agency.

"California employers must provide workers with the necessary protection and training so they can do their jobs safely," said Christine Baker, director of the Department of Industrial Relations. "When our investigations uncover negligent behavior by employers, we exercise our full jurisdiction to protect workers – including referrals to district attorneys for prosecution."

"When preventable deaths occur on the job, employers must be held accountable," said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. "Cal/OSHA worked closely with the Santa Clara District Attorney to ensure that criminal behavior in the workplace is addressed."

Cal/OSHA also conducted a civil investigation. It issued six citations with penalties totaling $168,175 on June 12, 2012, including five citations for serious violations.

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