A Pennsylvania treescaping company was fined for breaking child labor laws when it let a teenager use a woodchipper that wound up killing him, according to safety regulators.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said that it hit the Lehigh Valley-based company with a $136,613 fine after finding that it had let three minors operate the woodchipper, which is a violation of federal child labor laws.
The company, which goes by both Adam’s Tree Service and Adam’s Tree Removal and Trimming, is run by Adam Atiyeh.
“The dangers of tree-trimming and operating a woodchipper are obvious and widely known, and yet this employer exposed a teenager to deadly risks. Now his family, friends and co-workers are left to mourn,” OSHA Area Office Director Jean Kulp said in a press release.
“The willingness of this company and its owner Adam Atiyeh to expose workers without proper safety equipment and training to such hazardous work is hard to understand. Employing minors to do this work is unconscionable,” he said.
The incident took place on Aug. 9, 2022, in Schnecksville when the 17-year-old, whom OSHA did not name, was feeding entangled material into the machine. The teen suffered fatal injuries after he was partially pulled into the woodchipper.
The company also failed to train workers on how to safely operate a woodchipper; provide and ensure that employees have safety shoes, safety glasses, gloves and hard hats; have personnel at the work site with first aid training; and maintain portable fire extinguishers at the work site.
Mr. Atiyeh will have 15 days to pay the fine upon receipt of the judgment.