Dead Worker Crushed by Heavy Vehicle - Criminal Trial

The foreman of a company that deals with heavy vehicles to be used in large railway yards, is delegated by the owner with the task of employer, thanks to his aptitude for precision and attention to every aspect related to the health and safety of his employees.

As every day he goes to the construction site, knowing that the danger of using mechanical means can always lead to a problem, but he trusts both in the functionality of his equipment and in the expertise of his employees.

lavori in cantiere caduta del macchinario che uccide un lavoratoreThat September day, going to work, he certainly does not foresee that he would soon experience the worst moments of his life, professional and not.

A busy morning awaits him, because he will have to coordinate the work necessary for the doubling of the railway tracks line and will have to manage the transfer of heavy goods vehicles from the company to the construction site, getting help from another company that owns trucks and trailers to load the special equipment.

Exceptional and Dangerous Transports - The fall of the heavy vehicle

Upon arriving at the construction site, he orders one of his employees to load a drill rig on to an attached truck, sliding it on the hooked floor behind.

The truck is driven by a driver of the collaborating company that provided the transport service, and not by an employee of the company of which the foreman is an employer.

Something jams in the ramps of the platform and the drill goes up with difficulty on the truck. The worker who manually tries to stabilize the faulty ramp by draining some of the oil from the hydraulic circuit of the pistons is succeeding in the enterprise.

Upon arriving at the scene, the worker gets out of the truck to unload the drill but, at the time of unhoogging the ramps, the right one, defective, unbalances and falls on the worker killing him on the spot.

Accident prevention at work - civil and criminal liability

A huge tragedy unfolds before the eyes of the terrified foreman. He did not have many workers and for this reason there was a friendship with his employees, also due to the fact that the work was heavy and after struggling together a whole day, it was easier to indulge in joy.

He can't make peace with himself. He knows he's always done everything he can to prevent injuries, and he can't understand how it could have happened.

In addition, there is a real risk of losing your job and having to pay for it yourself.

Manslaughter - trial of the foreman

Precisely because of his awareness that he has always complied with all the regulations on worker safety, the foreman, after going through a series of legal vicissitudes, decides to react.

He is charged with manslaughter for breach of rules on the prevention of accidents at work in two degrees of judgment, and there is no point in claiming that the archical locust supplied for the transport of the drill was owned by another company.

Manslaughter Lawyer Accident at Work

The tenacity of his lawyer has enabled him to obtain definitive justice, at least not to give up before two unfavourable judgments and to reach the long-awaited verdict of innocence.

The argument against which it had to be fought concerned the unpredictability of the fact that its employees may have to cooperate with the driver of the engaged driver and that therefore, even if the suggestion to intervene manually on the ramps had been given by the driver, he still had to hold the employer responsible, even though it was a vehicle owned by the company he was representing.

The unpredictable and inevitable conduct of third parties discriminates against the employer

Once in the Supreme Court, the employer and his lawyer receive the consecration of their defence arguments. By judgment, the Supreme Court acquitted the employer of the charge of manslaughter for violation of rules on the prevention of accidents at work.

It is true, it has been argued, that the employer is obliged to inform employees of the specific risks to which they are exposed, but that obligation does not remain with regard to the cooperation of workers with third parties, in the use of a vehicle belonging to another company and equipped with ramps whose operation was already precarious.

In no way, this situation could be said to be avoidable or foreseeable, since it occurred because of a wrong manoeuvre by the worker, and not because of a lack of information on how to use that machine.

Where the worker's participation in the situation is abnormal, i.e. eccentric in relation to the foreseeable job risk, then the employer cannot be held accountable for the accident.

In this case, argues the Cassation, the employer could not foresee or prevent the worker, following the invitation of the driver to manually manage the operation of the ramps, remove oil from the pistons causing the already defective ramp to malfunction. For this reason, annulling the previous rulings, they acquitted the foreman.

The causal link exists if the third party does not have exceptional conduct

On the other hand, the employer's liability has not been criminally excluded in the event of an accident which occurred to a third party who is passing through the site, by the fact of the employee.

The condition to be fulfilled, so that the employer must be held to account for the accident, is that the presence of the alien in the place and time of the accident is not abnormal, atypical and exceptional, in such a way as to make the causal link between the event and the negligent conduct of the employer considered to be interrupted.

Therefore, liability also occurs in the absence of a specific violation of dictated rules for the prevention of accidents at work, since it is sufficient that the harmful event occurred due to the failure to take imposed measures and for the safety of employees, which can be universally applied to every person within the work area.

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