The 41-year-old former president of Port Arthur Chemical and Environmental Service, or PACES, was sentenced to 12 months in federal prison for workplace negligence that resulted in the death of an employee at the company. He pleaded guilty to violating OSHA policies and providing a false statement to authorities on May 9. In addition to a prison sentence, the man was also issued a $5,000 fine.
PACES was in operation from November 2008 to November 2010, during which time it produced caustic materials for paper mills. The man was responsible for ensuring that employee safety requirements were met. He admitted to failing in his duty, which ultimately led to the fatal accident that took the life of an employee in December 2008. The employee was killed after exposure to hydrogen sulfide, a poisonous gas, without proper protection.
The man also admitted to having employees falsify documents in an effort to hide waste water that was coming from the company. Additionally, he transported hazardous materials without the proper warning placards and with false documents, and the man also did not protect his employees exposure. According to reports, the former president personally handled all matters pertaining to work-related injuries, directed the transportation of waste water and made the decisions concerning which safety equipment would be purchased and how that equipment was maintained. Reports also say that another employee also died from the alleged negligent behavior.
In addition to the charges from OSHA, the family of the deceased worker could choose to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the man for their loved one's death. They might be able to get compensation for his burial expenses, lost earning power and loss of companionship they endured due to the former president's negligence. A personal injury attorney might be able to help them make their claims and negotiate settlements.
Source: Beaumont Enterprise, "PA chemical president sentenced 1 year for negligence, deaths", Jose D. Enriquez III, October 28, 2013