The owner and manager of a San Francisco printing company and the company itself all have pleaded guilty to charges in connection with the death of a pregnant worker who was crushed to death by a machine on the job in 2008, prosecutors said today. Digital Pre-Press International owner and CEO Sanjay Sakhuja, 54, and pressroom manager Alick Yeung pleaded guilty in San Francisco Superior Court on Wednesday for the death of Margarita Mojica, a 26-year-old Oakland woman, on Jan. 29, 2008.
Mojica was crushed by a creasing and cutting machine that suddenly activated as she reached into it, prosecutors said. Sakhuja pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and five felony counts of willful violations of California Division of Occupational Safety and Health regulations causing death or permanent injury, while Yeung pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of violating Cal/OSHA codes. According to court records, workers at the company were not trained on safety procedures, including turning off the machine’s power source before reaching inside to set up creasing and cutting jobs.
Prosecutors also alleged that the machine lacked required safety devices. A guilty plea was also entered on behalf of the corporation, which will likely face a fine of between $50,000 and $150,000, prosecutors said. Sakhuja faces up to three years in state prison and a fine of $250,000, but if he pays the corporate and personal fines before the Oct. 11 sentencing, the sentence could be reduced to one year in county jail and five years’ probation, according to the district attorney’s office.
Yeung is being sentenced to three years’ probation, prosecutors said. “The law should afford everyone the right to a safe working environment,” District Attorney George Gascon said in a statement. “We will not stand idly by, when corporations and their owners should be held criminally liable for fatalities at the workplace.” Tony Brass, Sakhuja’s defense attorney, was not immediately available for comment.
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