Here are the minutes from the October Safety Joint Coop meeting, in which we were fortunate to have a representative from the Marion County Prosecutors office, Christina Gull, as well as from the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council, Chris Daniels, to share and address concerns that our members had regarding the prosecution or a lack there of by motorists who injure or kill workers in work zones. Our members were eager to learn why the prosecutors were so successful in the case where a motorist was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing two highway workers in 2014 but not in other obvious situations of negligence involving highway worker deaths. They also wanted to know what contractors can do to assist in the success going forward.
Ms. Gull, who actually worked on the 2014 case, praised ICI members for their cooperation and willingness to help educate the attorneys as well as the jury on the specifics of a work zone and what goes into designing, building and disassembling them. She shared that they could have in no way been successful without the help of our members.
Mr. Daniels enlightened members to the fact that these cases a very challenging to prosecute because of the way the laws are written. The law is written in a way where when trying to try a case involving a motorist killing a worker with a vehicle is no different than a case attempting to prosecute an individual who used a gun to kill a person. His office is working with the legislature to fix these problems.
One of the major takeaways from the presentation was that there is no automatic path or process to prosecuting these violators. Contractors and others concerned should feel free to alert the local prosecutor’s office to ensure that they are aware of incidences that could warrant prosecution. In most cases this awareness comes from the police department; however, when they don’t recognize the opportunity for prosecution, they will not move the case forward.
The ICI Safety Joint Coop forum meets bimonthly and is a great platform for our members and their safety directors to gather to share and keep abreast of the latest industry happenings as they relate to road construction safety. These gatherings regularly involve representatives from IDOL, ISP and INDOT. One of the main features of the Safety Joint Coop meeting is the open discussion session in which members get the opportunity hear details of injuries that have occurred in the industry and learn ways to avoid them in their own shops. The group thinking here is one of the worst things that we can experience as an industry is for the same injury to occur in one member’s shop that has already occurred in another’s shop, and there was no platform to learn from others mistakes.
Download calendar appointments for the meetings scheduled for: