Printing Company, the Owner and a Manager Plead Guilty for 2008 Death of Pregnant Worker

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 12, 2013

CONTACT: Stephanie Ong Stillman, DA Gascón’s Office, (415) 553-1167
ADA Alex Bastian, DA Gascón’s Office, (415) 553-1931

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – District Attorney George Gascón announced today that a printing company, the owner, and a manager all pled guilty to 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.

“The law should afford everyone the right to a safe working environment,” said District Attorney George Gascón. “We will not stand idly by, when corporations and their owners should be held criminally liable for fatalities at the workplace.”

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

Sanjay Sakhuja (the company owner and CEO), age 54, and Pre-Press International, Inc. (doing business as Digital Pre-Press International (“DPI”), pled guilty to all charges, in a plea open to the court on one felony count of involuntary manslaughter (Penal Code section 192(b)) and five felony counts of violating the Labor Code (Labor Code section 6425(a)), a willful violation of a CAL/OSHA regulation causing death or permanent injury. Alick Yeung (who was employed by the company as a manager), age 52, pled guilty to one misdemeanor count of violating the Labor Code (Labor Code section 6425(a)), a willful violation of a CAL/OSHA regulation causing death or permanent injury.

The court has indicated that the corporation will be sentenced to five years of probation and will have to pay a fine between 50,000-150,000 dollars to be determined by the court. The court also indicated that Sanjay Sakhuja will be personally fined 250,000 dollars and sentenced to three years in state prison. If Sanjay Sakhuja pays the corporate and personal fines before his sentencing date, the court has indicated that the state prison sentence will be commuted to one year in the county jail and five years of probation. Restitution to the victim’s family has already been paid.

According to court records, 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 charged that the machine that crushed the victim 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 death was investigated by the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office and the San Francisco office of Cal/OSHA. Ana Gonzalez was the Assistant District Attorney prosecuting the case.

The sentencing date for Sanjay Sakhuja and Pre-Press International, Inc. is on October 11, 2013 in Department 29 at 9am.

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