Southern Civil Contracting, Inc. Unfairly Targeted by Media Coverage
May 27, 2020
Southern Civil Contracting, Inc., a local utility construction company, recently had an accident on a job site in Mississippi where two of its employees tragically lost their lives. The facts and circumstances surrounding the accident are currently under investigation. However, the supervisor and operator for the job site had 30 years of experience in the use of heavy equipment and excavation and was certified as an “OSHA Competent” operator. He had received numerous hours of safety training prior to this accident. Southern Civil Contracting, Inc. and its owner, Shane Henderson, are cooperating fully with OSHA in its efforts to investigate this accident.
In the midst of this investigation, a local reporter penned an article attempting to link Southern Civil Contracting, Inc. and its owner, Shane Henderson, to OSHA violations of Mr. Henderson’s former employer, Gilco Contracting, Inc. This article contained several false statements in its effort to link Mr. Henderson to his prior employer’s OSHA violations.
This article claimed that Mr. Henderson was the President of Gilco Contracting during the period of these alleged violations. This is simply not true. A cursory review of the Alabama Secretary of State website and Annual Reports for Gilco Contracting, Inc. from its formation in 1999 through its dissolution in 2009 would demonstrate that Mr. Henderson was not the President of Gilco Contracting during the period of any of the alleged OSHA violations by Gilco.
Mr. Henderson never acquired any ownership interest in the company. Furthermore, Mr. Henderson was not involved in any of the projects or incidents giving rise to the alleged OSHA violations as set forth in the article. Mr. Henderson’s role in the company during that period was primarily one of sales and estimating. Mr. Henderson was not a project superintendent on any of those projects, nor was he involved in the safety and training of employees. Gilco Contracting, Inc. had approximately 160 employees at its peak during this period. Gilco had a full-time safety director throughout the relevant period of time that handled those day-to-day safety related activities. Lastly, Mr. Henderson was not involved in any OSHA investigations, any response to OSHA, or any remedial efforts as required by OSHA. Therefore, any attempt to link Mr. Henderson to his prior employer’s OSHA violations is a mischaracterization of the facts and has caused great damage to the reputation of Southern Civil Contracting as well as Mr. Henderson.
On behalf of the company we have issued demands for an apology and retraction to the newspapers which have published this false defamatory information and we are awaiting their response. We reserve the right to file suit, if necessary, to protect Mr. Henderson’s reputation as well as that of his company. The concept of “Free Press” is vital to our democracy. However, along with that right comes a great responsibility to fairly and accurately report the facts.