InjuryFree, Inc.

America's Leading Innovators of Workplace Injury Prevention Solutions

News & Events

News Release- Indictments issued in Worker Death

6/16/2010
(HAMILTON, Ohio) — A Butler County grand jury has returned indictments against United Oil Recovery Services Inc. and several of its employees on charges relating to the death of a worker at the company’s Middletown facility.

United Oil and David Weber, the company’s environmental health and safety manager, are charged with one count each of involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, violation of wastewater permit, deviation from pre-treatment permit and criminal endangering. United Oil President David Brown and Plant Manager Jay Black are each charged with one count of criminal endangering.

The charges stem from an incident on June 21, 2008, at the Middletown facility where wastewater was being improperly treated using sodium hydrosulfide. As a result, a chemical reaction took place and lethal doses of hydrogen sulfide were released, killing United Oil employee Thomas Rogers. The Warren County Coroner’s Office concluded that the cause of Rogers’ death was hydrogen sulfide poisoning.

In 2007, United Oil was issued a permit from Ohio EPA for the pre-treatment of wastewater. The permit outlined the approved treatment processes. Soon after, however, the company deviated from the terms of its permit by using sodium hydrosulfide to speed up the treatment process.

Involuntary manslaughter and reckless homicide are both third-degree felonies that carry penalties of up to five years incarceration and a $10,000 fine for individuals and $15,000 for an organization. Criminal endangering is a first-degree misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to 180 days incarceration and a $1,000 fine for an individual.

The office of Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray prosecuted the case at the request of the Butler County Prosecutor’s Office. The Environmental Enforcement section of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office represents the interests of various state agencies in criminal, civil and administrative matters intended to enforce Ohio’s environmental laws and rules in order to protect the health and safety of the public and the state’s many natural resources. In 2009, the Environmental Enforcement section was granted more than $37.4 million from civil, criminal and bankruptcy proceedings, including a record-setting $15 million in judgments secured by the section’s hazardous waste unit.

Full News Release

Tags: , ,


One Comment

  1. Kelly O'Malley says:

    I attended the ASSE conference, and David Michaels from OSHA spoke on this very subject.

Leave a Comment