When investigations into workplace deaths find particularly egregious safety failures, the penalties won’t stop with fines from OSHA. These cases can be forwarded to prosecutors for criminal charges. That’s what happened in this California fatality.
The owner/CEO and manager of Digital Pre-Press International, a San Francisco printing company, face jail time and huge fines in connection with the workplace death of an employee who was four months pregnant.
Margarita Mojica was crushed to death by a creasing and cutting machine on Jan. 29, 2008.
Mojica was preparing the machine, which functioned like a giant, mechanized clam shell, for a printing job and reached into it.
The machine turned on, trapping Mojica.
Rescuers had to be called to release her from the machine. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Owner Sanjay Sakhuja and manager Alick Yeung are charged with involuntary manslaughter. If convicted, the penalties are from two to four years in prison and fines up to $250,000. The company could be fined $1.5 million.
Cal/OSHA violations in connection with the death include not instructing employees to turn off the machine’s power before reaching into it to set up jobs, and not having required safety devices on the machine.
Should criminal penalties such as jail time and six-figure fines be potential punishments for company owners and managers in cases such as this one? Let us know what you think in the Comments Box below.