John Prisque, a Pennsylvania plant manager, was sentenced to 70 months in federal prison on a conspiracy charge that involved polluting the Delaware River, impeding OSHA and EPA investigations, lying to OSHA, EPA and the FBI and “corruptly influencing an OSHA proceeding,” Lehigh Valley Live reports.
Over the course of four years managing the Atlantic States Cast Iron Pipe Co. plant, Mr. Prisque broke a number of laws. He lied to OSHA investigators regarding several accidents at the plant and instructed other employees to do the same. He lied to OSHA about instructing his employees to bypass safety equipment. He burned 55 gallons of toxic paint in the plant’s furnace and, to top it all off, he pumped oily waste water out of the plant’s storm drain, “leading to an 8.5 mile oil slick on the Delaware River.”
Mr. Prisque’s disregard for the safety of his workers, the environment and the law is extraordinary. The results of his apathy are clear. Mr. Prisque left a trail of maimed and killed workers whose accidents, rather than exposing shortcomings with the plant’s safety plan, were hidden, putting more workers at risk.
Working with personal injury lawyers in New York, I have little patience with Mr. Prisque’s antics. Any manager who tries to wring productivity from his or her staff at the expense of its safety should be punished. Mr. Prisque did exactly that, taking every shortcut available to him to cut costs and increase the plant’s profits.
Now, with the plant facing $500,000 in fines (and skyrocketing insurance premiums) and Mr. Prisque looking at almost six years in jail, I wonder if he thinks it was worth it.