A few months ago, we told you about a 14-year-old high school freshman who was pulled into a wood chipper and killed while working for a lawn-care company. The teen had been living with the company’s owner. Now, the Virginia Dept. of Labor and Industry has decided on a penalty.
Old Dominion Tree & Lawn Care of Poquoson, VA, has been fined $185,500 in the death of Frank Gornik for 20 serious and willful violations including lack of safety checks of machines and regular performance of maintenance repairs. The company has 15 days to decide whether to contest the fines.
Police say Gornik was shoveling debris into a wood chipper when the shovel got caught in the blades and pulled him into the machine.
Gornik was working with two adult employees, but they were away from the chipper when he was pulled in.
The company is owned by Robert Stickland. He and his wife took Gornik into their home after the death of both his parents.
Virginia child labor laws prohibit anyone under 18 from operating any power woodworking machine, including a wood chipper. Click here to find out what jobs teens under age 18 are prohibited from doing.