Man pleads guilty to obstructing investigation into construction workplace death

A man has pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy and three charges of obstruction in relation to an investigation into the workplace death of a construction worker.

Flag of the United States Department of Justice Image: United States Department of JusticeVectorization: Ali Zifan, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

A four-count indictment alleged that Richard Zagger, of Blue Point, New York, was a supervisor for Northridge Construction Corporation, located in East Patchogue, Long Island, New York.

On 8 December 2018, Zagger was overseeing employees of Northridge Construction Corporation who were constructing a metal shed on the Northridge property.

During the construction, one of the employees fell from the improperly secured shed roof and died.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigated the employee’s death and violations of worker safety standards. Among other worker safety standards, OSHA regulations require maintaining the stability of a metal structure at all times during construction.

The indictment charged that during the investigation, Zagger made false statements and conspired with others to make false statements to obstruct the federal agency’s inquiry, according to a statement from the US Department of Justice.

A sentence hearing for Zagger is set to take place on 16 October.

The maximum penalty for the conspiracy count and each obstruction count is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the economic gain to the defendant or loss suffered by the victim because of the crime.

In regards to the same fatal incident, Northridge previously pleaded guilty to violating a worker safety standard causing the death of one of its employees and to making two false statements that obstructed OSHA’s investigation. The corporation is scheduled to be sentenced on 6 August.

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