By T. Christian Miller
As of December, 3,258 civilian contract workers had been killed or died in Iraq, and another 90,000 had reported injuries.The U.S. Department of Labor has fined a private security contractor $75,000 for failing to file timely reports on the deaths of workers in Iraq as required by law. The Sandi Group, based in Washington D.C., delayed telling the Labor department that 30 of its employees had been killed while working for the company between 2003 and 2005, according to the department.
The Sandi Group, a privately held company known for employing large numbers of Iraqis as security guards, did not return requests for comment. Since 2005 the company has won U.S. government contracts worth at least $80.9 million, according to a federal contracting database.
The fine, believed to be the largest ever levied against a single company for failing to report war zone casualties in a timely manner, is part of an enforcement crackdown that began after a ProPublica series highlighted problems with a government program designed to provide health benefits to civilian contractors working in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Timely reporting of work-related injuries, illnesses and fatalities are vitally important to protect the interests of injured workers and their families,” Gary A. Steinberg, acting director of the Department of Labor office which negotiated the settlement amount with the company, said in a prepared statement.
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