SCHNECKSVILLE, Pa. (WHTM) — The U.S. Department of Labor Occupation Safety and Health Administration has fined a Lehigh Valley tree company after the death of a 17-year-old employee after he was pulled into a woodchipper last year.

Following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), it was found that the teen’s employer, a Lehigh Valley tree service company owned and operated by Adam Atiyeh, could have prevented the incident.

OSHA found that the teen was pulled into a woodchipper as he fed entangled material into the machine, later dying from his injuries. According to investigators, the company had allowed three minor-aged workers to operate the woodchipper, an activity that is barred by federal child labor laws.

According to agency investigators, Adam’s Tree Service and Adam’s Tree Removal and Trimming, failed to do the following:

  • Provide and make sure employees used personal protective equipment including safety shoes, safety glasses, gloves, and hard hats
  • Train workers to safely operate a woodchipper
  • Have personnel at the work site with first aid training
  • Maintain portable fire extinguishers at the work site

The company and Atiyeh were issued citations for 10 serious safety violations and proposed penalties totaling $136,163.

Stay up to date on the latest from abc27 News on-air and on the go with the free abc27 Mobile app.

“The dangers of tree-trimming and operating a woodchipper are obvious and widely known, and yet this employer exposed a teenager to deadly risks. Now his family, friends and co-workers are left to mourn,” said OSHA Area Office Director Jean Kulp in Allentown. “The willingness of this company and its owner Adam Atiyeh to expose workers without proper safety equipment and training to such hazardous work is hard to understand. Employing minors to do this work is unconscionable.”

OSHA referred the alleged child labor violations to the department’s Wage and Hour Division for further investigation.

Atiyeh and his company provide services for property owners in Bethlehem, Schnecksville, and throughout Lehigh County.

Atiyeh and his company have 15 business days from the recipient of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the finding before the independent Occupational Safety and Health review commission.