The owner of a Leigh Valley tree service company has been cited by OSHA after a 17-year-old worker suffered fatal injuries following a woodchipper accident. An investigation determined that the teen’s employer could have prevented the incident by following required federal safety standards. Investigators were told the company had allowed three minor-aged workers to operate the woodchipper, a hazardous occupation forbidden by federal child labor laws.

Agency investigators found the employer failed to:

  • Provide and make sure employees used personal protective equipment including safety shoes, safety glasses, gloves and hard hats.
  • Train workers to safely operate a woodchipper.
  • Have personnel at the work site with first aid training.
  • Maintain portable fire extinguishers at the work site.

The agency issued the company and owner citations for 10 serious safety violations and proposed total penalties of $124,987.

OSHA has referred the alleged child labor violations to the department’s Wage and Hour Division for further investigation.