Judge Finds Sufficient Evidence to Order Printing Company, Owner and Foreman to Trial in 2008 Death of Pregnant Worker

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 28 2011

CONTACT: Stephanie Ong Stillman, (415) 553-1167 or (415) 740-5134
Omid Talai, (415) 553-9272

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – District Attorney George Gascón announced that after three weeks of testimony at a preliminary hearing, Judge Newton Lam ruled there was sufficient evidence to hold the defendants to answer on criminal charges filed in connection with the death of a pregnant worker who was crushed by a machine at her job on January 29, 2008.

Margarita Mojica, an employee of Digital Pre-Press International (DPI), a printing plant located in the Potrero Hill Area of San Francisco was crushed to death by a creasing and cutting machine while preparing the machine for a job. Mojica was 26 and pregnant at the time of her death.

Sanjay Sakhuja (the company owner and CEO), age 53, Alick Yeung (the pressroom manager), age 51 and Pre-Press International, Inc. (doing business as Digital Pre-Press International (“DPI”)), are charged with felony involuntary manslaughter (Penal Code section 192(b)) and felony violation of the Labor Code (Labor Code section 6425(a)), a willful violation of a CAL/OSHA regulation causing death or permanent injury.

“Employers bear the responsibility for providing safe and healthy conditions for their workers. By its ruling, the court found that there was sufficient evidence supporting the charges that the defendants violated worker safety laws and thereby caused the unfortunate death of Margarita Mojica,” said District Attorney George Gascón.

According to the charges, workers at DPI were not trained on safety procedures including turning off the machine’s power before reaching into the equipment to set up creasing and cutting jobs. The complaint also charges that the machine that crushed Mojica lacked required safety devices. Mojica was crushed by the machine – which operated in the manner of a giant, mechanized clamshell – when it suddenly activated as Mojica was reaching her upper body into the machine to set up a job.

The California Administrative Code (Title 8, section 3314) requires that a machine must be “locked out” during setting up operations if the unexpected energization or start of the machine could cause injury to an employee. “Lock-out” under this regulation means that power to the machine must be turned off and that the power switch must be locked in the off position.

The accident was investigated by the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office and the San Francisco office of Cal/OSHA. Max Peltz is the Assistant District Attorney prosecuting the case.

The defendants are scheduled to be arraigned on January 19, 2012, 9am in Department 22.

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George Gascon, District Attorney George Gascon, San Francisco District Attorney