Williamsport, PA (WorkersCompensation.com) - The United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Susquehanna Supply Company, Inc., of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, was sentenced on April 10, 2018, by U.S. Magistrate Judge William I. Arbuckle to pay a fine of $250,000 for willfully committing an OSHA violation that resulted in an employee's death.
According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, the sentence was part of a plea agreement in which Susquehanna Supply Company acknowledged that it was guilty of willfully violating an OSHA regulation during its work on a bridge rehabilitation project near Eyers Grove in Columbia County in the summer of 2015. The rehabilitation project involved digging large trenches at each end of the bridge. OSHA regulations require that an employee working in a trench must be protected from cave-ins by an adequate protective system, such as sloped walls. Cave-ins represent the greatest danger during a trenching operation and are more likely than other trenching-related accidents to result in worker fatalities.
On July 7, 2015, a Susquehanna Supply Company employee entered a trench at one end of the bridge to remove additional soil. The trench was approximately twelve feet deep. Although Susquehanna Supply Company was aware of the applicable OSHA regulations, the company had not implemented a protective system in the trench. While the employee was working, one of the trench's vertical dirt walls collapsed, burying the employee up to his chest and crushing him against the bridge's concrete abutment. The collapse caused massive trauma to the employee's upper body and killed him almost instantly.
The case was investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Wilkes-Barre, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carlo D. Marchioli.
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