orange wood chipper sits unused with tree limbs in front of it

OSHA Cites Pennsylvania Employer After 17-Year-Old Employee Suffers Fatal Injuries

The citations include violations for not having PPE and not training employees on certain machine usage.

Following the death of an employee, an employer in Pennsylvania is facing citations for violations relating to not training employees on wood chipper use and not having someone trained in first aid.

In August 2022, a 17-year employee working for Adam Atiyeh, operator of Adam’s Tree Service and Adam’s Tree Removal and Trimming, was fatally injured after a wood chipper pulled them in, according to a news release. The employee had been putting entangled material in the wood chipper at a site in Schnecksville, Pennsylvania, when they were injured.

Federal child labor laws do not allow anyone under the age of 18 to use a wood chipper. OSHA said the employer allowed three workers, all minors, to use the machinery.

“The dangers of tree-trimming and operating a wood chipper 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,” said OSHA Area Office Director Jean Kulp in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in the news release.

Atiyeh and the company were cited for a lack of PPE, not training employees on wood chipper use, not having someone with first aid training and not “maintain[ing] portable fire extinguishers at the work site.” In total, OSHA cited the employer for citations for 10 serious violations and proposed $124,987 in penalties.

 “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,” Kulp continued.

About the Author

Alex Saurman is a former Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety,who has since joined OH&S’s client services team. She continues to work closely with OH&S’s editorial team and contributes to the magazine.

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