State fines tree service over teen's death

- The Crawford Tree Service & Stump Grinding Company has received a citation and penalty of $39,200 from the NC Dept. of Labor after the fatality of an employee in December 2015.

The Labor Dept. cited Crawford for one alleged willful serious violation and four alleged serious violation of the Occupation Safety and Health Act of NC.

19-year-old Mason Cox's body was pulled into a wood chipper, killing him in December 2015, according to Kings Mountain Police.

Mason Scott Cox was working for Crawford Tree & Stump Grinding Co. cutting down trees. Police pronounced Cox dead on the scene. His body was found inside the wood chipper. 

Police determined the death accidental.

The Labor Dept. says civil penalties for OSH violation are included in the Occupation Safety and Health Act of NC in the General Statutes. The maximum penalty for each serious violation is $7,000. The General Statutes say that the Labor Department has to take into consideration various factors such as the gravity of the violation, the size of the business, the good faith of the employer, and the history of previous violations, according to the labor dept.

Civil money penalties collected by the labor dept. will be distributed to the public school systems, according to the labor dept.

The Labor Dept. says the company has 15 working days to respond.

View the citation, here.

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