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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Montana

Monday, December 15, 2014

Corporation Sentenced For Safety Violations That Caused Employee Death

MISSOULA – A Montana corporation specializing in residential and commercial asphalt paving services was sentenced today for violating of a safety standard that caused the death of one of its employees. MR Asphalt and its President, Martin Romano, were sentenced to three years’ probation and $7,500 in fines. In addition, $12,500 was ordered to the victim’s spouse.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kris McLean told the court that on September 13, 2012, the MR Asphalt employee was checking the asphalt tank located thirteen (13) feet from ground level. Another employee found the victim lying face down on the ground next to the asphalt tank. Police reports and medical records confirm the victim’s death was consistent with a fall from the asphalt tank. The investigation specifically noted the lack of guardrails or handrails on the asphalt tank, as well as the absence of any type of personal fall protection on the victim’s body.

After the incident, Martin Romano met with MR Asphalt employees and asked them to falsify safety records, specifically to back date records of safety meetings that did not occur. In addition, a safety harness and lanyard were placed in the control shack after the incident, and Romano told others that the equipment was always present at the worksite. The investigation revealed that no one had ever been trained or certified in fall protection or fall arrest systems, or that safety equipment was ever available prior to the fatal fall.

“Although nothing will restore the victim to family and loved ones, prosecution of the case by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the defendant's plea of guilty, will send a clear message that no employee’s life should be sacrificed for a day’s wages,” said Gregory Baxter, Regional Administrator for OSHA’s Region VIII Office in Denver.

The case was investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Updated January 14, 2015