Wesley Sherwood was killed in 2011 when he fell into a rock crushing machine at B.S. Quarries in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. It is believed that Wesley was attempting to clear rocks that had jammed the crusher when he fell into the machine. The 22-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene.
Following his death, Wesley’s mother, Pauline Bailey, filed a federal lawsuit against the quarry and Lippmann Milwaukee Inc., the company that manufactured the rock crusher. She recently won a $6.5 million settlement over her son’s death. The settlement included $2.5 million from Lippmann Milwaukee Inc. and $4 million from B.S. Quarries and its affiliates.
According to The Scranton Times-Tribune, the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration found the quarry at fault for failure to ensure that its employees were trained on how to clear rock jams safely.
During trial preparation, the attorney for Pauline Bailey found that the Susquehanna County rock quarry pressured its employees to bypass safety rules to increase profits. The attorney gathered testimony from a former quarry employee, Mark Baxter, who stated that the quarry encouraged employees to keep equipment running when a rock jam occurred. Turning the machines off slowed production and increased costs for the company. To resolve a jam, employees had to climb over the mouth of the rock crusher. According to Baxter, Wesley Sherwood fell into the rock crusher while climbing over it.
The Times Leader reported that Baxter also stated that the quarry called employees for a secret meeting and instructed them to claim they did not see how Wesley Sherwood fell into the rock crusher.
Lippmann Milwaukee Inc. maintained that there was not a design flaw in the crusher according to The Legal Intelligencer. B.S. Quarries argued that they did not know why Sherwood fell and therefore could not determine if his fall was due to improper training.
Both companies decided to settle the case before it went to trial.