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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Plumbing Franchise Owner Sentenced for OSHA Violation that Caused Employee’s Death

PITTSBURGH - A resident in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, has been sentenced in federal court to two years’ probation on his conviction of willfully violating an OSHA regulation causing the death of an employee, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

United States Magistrate Judge Cynthia R. Eddy imposed the sentence on Wayne A. George, d/b/a A Rooter Man of Pittsburgh, LLC.

According to the information presented to the court, George was a part owner of A Rooter Man, and was responsible for all of its trench work. Most of that trench work involved excavating, installing and repairing septic systems. OSHA requires employers to provide life-saving cave-in protection in most trenches more than five feet deep. George spent most of his working life as an excavator and was very familiar with those important safety and legal requirements.

The events leading to the death took place on September 28, 2015, at the Shelbourne Personal Care Home in Penn Township, Butler County. George was physically present, operating a backhoe and supervising the replacement of a terra cotta sewer line with PVC pipe. George dug a trench that was 11 feet deep and had a ladder in the trench that was used by his employees to climb in and out of the trench. The trench had no cave-in protection.

The victim, Jacob Casher, was a 21-year-old A Rooter Man employee, who was in the trench at the depth of approximately 11 feet below the surface when the trench collapsed. He was killed instantly.

As a result of its investigation, OSHA issued citations for two willful violations and several serious violations of construction industry safety standards. In response, George paid a penalty of $87,000.

Assistant United States Attorney Nelson P. Cohen prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

U.S. Attorney Brady commended the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Office of the Regional Solicitor for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Wayne A. George.

 

Topic(s): 
Labor & Employment
Updated February 21, 2018