SF judge orders trial in worker’s death

(AP File)

(KTSF by Sean Au)

A pregnant Oakland woman was crushed to death fours years ago while working in a printing company in San Francisco. San Francisco judge Newton Lam has found sufficient evidence to order the company owner and foreman to stand trial for allegedly causing the woman’s death.

In January 2008, 26 year old Margarita Mojica was applying a dye on the steel platens of the creasing and cutting machine when the horizontal platen moved and crushed her to death. Mojica was pregnant with her second child at that time of her death.

The complaint lists Digital Pre-Press International (DPI), a printing plant located in the Potrero Hill area of San Francisco as the location where the accident happened. It alleges that DPI did not train workers on safety procedures when operating the machine that could crush the body or body parts of an operator. The complaint also charges that the machine that crushed Mojica lacked required safety devices.

The California Administrative Code requires that a machine must be “locked out” during setting up operations if the unexpected energization or start of the machine could cause injury to an employee. This means that the power of the machine must be turned off and that that power switch must be locked in the off position.

The District Attorney’s office has charged 53-year-old company owner and CEO, Sanjay Sakhuja, and 51-year-old pressroom manager, Alick Yeung, with felony involuntary manslaughter and felony violation of the Labor Code, causing death or permanent injury.

The defendants will be arraigned on January 19, 2012 to set details about the trial. If convicted, they face a prison term of between 2 and 4 years. The company could face a fine of $1.5 million.

S.F. D.A. George Gascon says, “Not only are we proceeding legally, just as importantly, we are coming out publicly because this is the kind of stuff that is preventable and we know that this is not a unique setting. There is probably other places out there that are very unsafe. This is very disturbing.”

The D.A.’s office reminds employees that if they find that their workplace has a lack of safety procedures and unsafe environment, they may report safety violations to the California Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA). There are offices in main Bay Area cities.

Visit this link to see the various district office locations: http://www.dir.ca.gov

San Francisco office phone number: 415-972-8670

(Copyright 2011 KTSF. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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