State v. Pacific Topsoils
Local Company Pleads Guilty to Criminal Charge for Safety Violations Related to Death of Employee: A local landscaping company pled guilty this morning to a criminal charge in connection with serious workplace safety violations that led to the death of an employee in 2014. The company, Pacific Topsoils, pled guilty as charged to Violation of Labor Safety Regulation with Death Resulting. A judge imposed the maximum sentence, which is a fine of $100,000. Pacific Topsoils’ employee, 19-year-old Bradley Hogue, was killed by a rotating auger while working inside the hopper of a bark blowing truck at a home in Duvall on July 7, 2014. The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) launched an investigation into Pacific Topsoils following Hogue’s death. The Duvall Police Department also investigated the incident. L&I found several safety violations that endangered workers, including a lack of appropriate training and that the company did not have proper safety procedures in place. The company’s conduct in allowing Hogue to stand in the hopper of the truck while the machinery was operating violated regulations. A representative of Pacific Topsoils appeared in court and entered a guilty plea on behalf of the company. The case was handled by Senior Deputy Prosecutor Scott Peterson.