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Plumbing franchise owner pleads guilty to OSHA violation in trench collapse death

November 28, 2017 News Extra

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PITTSBURGH — The owner of a plumbing franchise pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to charges in connection with a trench collapse incident in 2015 that killed a 21-year-old man.

Wayne A. George, doing business as A Rooter Man of Pittsburgh of Hookstown, Beaver County, pleaded guilty to a charge of willful violation of an OSHA regulation causing the death of an employee, according to a news release from acting U.S. Attorney Soo Song.

In connection with the plea, the court was told that George employed an individual who died as a result of a willful violation of standards which require employers to take protective measures against cave-ins, according to the release.

On Sept. 28, 2015, Jacob Casher of Clearfield, Pa., died in a trench collapse at a work site behind the Shelbourne Personal Care facility on Dinnerbell Road in Penn Township.

The four-man crew was relocating sewer lines for the personal care home. They were ready to leave for the day at 2 p.m. when Casher went back into the 11-foot deep trench to retrieve a shovel left behind, according to police.

Following an investigation, OSHA last year cited the company with two willful and seven serious violations. It was charged $174,000 in fines.

Judge Cynthia Eddy scheduled sentencing for Feb. 21. The law provides a maximum sentence of six months in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both.

George is free on an unsecured $10,000 bail.

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