Should consequences for safety violations include possible criminal charges?

When an employee dies or is severely injured on the job, should someone with the employer face criminal charges including going to jail? There appears to be a growing trend of criminal charges (I.e., manslaughter) being filed across the country where there are significant Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard violations associated with an on-the-job fatality. Typically, it is the company, the owner, or a supervisor who is charged, and consequences can range from fines and probation to a multiyear prison sentence. This risk can be managed by doing what all employers should do; implementing industry and OSHA safety best practices. Of course, the chance of criminal prosecution should not be needed to encourage employers to manage safety and risk. However, business owners and supervisors should understand that there is a risk of this happening, particularly when there is a flagrant lack of consideration for OSHA standards and the lives of their employees. So, what do you think? Should criminal charges be levied against companies and their owners or supervisors when safety violations lead to the death or severe injury of their employees? If so, under what circumstances?

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