ST. JOSEPH, Mo. - The family of a man who was killed after falling into a wood chipper at a Missouri sawmill is suing the machine's maker, Williams Patent Crusher and Pulverizor Co.
The 38-year-old Joshua Hill was killed in March of 2018 while working for American Walnut Co., a maker of wood products for furniture and gunstocks. Hill was the machine's operator.
The family says Williams Patent didn't build in any safety features for its XR430 Hog Wood Chipper. In a petition, the family specifically says the machine lacked an automatic shut-off, an emergency stop button or rope, guards, flaps, or any other method to protect an operator. The family also says no warning signs or instructions were provided with the machine.
There were no witnesses to the tragic accident. Investigators confirmed Hill's death by analyzing the DNA of a piece of flesh found in the machine, reports KQ2 News.
OSHA conducted an investigation soon after the accident, finding the company failed to evaluate job hazards, control hazardous energy, and to ensure machines were equipped with adequate guards, and that it exposed workers to hazards associated with falls, ladders, and electrical safety. It proposed a $200,000 fine.
The lawsuit does not name American Walnut. It also does not specify the exact damages sought.
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