State issues order in accident that killed Velpen woman

From the Evansville Courier & Press

A Newburgh company involved in a fatal accident this spring faces an Indiana Department of Labor safety order as a result.

The Department of Labor issued the safety order this month against S.C. Sapp Inc., a transportation company based in Newburgh. The order is related to an April 8 accident in Perry County in which a worker fell out of a delivery truck and died as a result.

According to the accident report filed by the Indiana State Police, 54-year-old Debra J. Harris, 8307 E. 300S, Velpen, was the passenger in a FedEx truck registered to S.C. Sapp.

The truck had just made a delivery stop, and Harris was standing in the right front of the truck near an open door. As the truck went around a curve in the road, Harris — who was not restrained by a seat belt — fell out of the truck and landed in a roadside ditch.

The vehicle’s driver was wearing a seat belt.

Harris’ death triggered an Indiana Department of Labor inspection, which is standard practice in a workplace death. That investigation led officials to issue a safety order against S.C. Sapp earlier this month.

According to the safety order, the inspection found that S.C. Sapp delivery employees were inadequately trained on safety hazards, and they traveled their routes while their vehicle’s passenger-side and driver-side sliding doors were open.

The safety order requires that S.C. Sapp assure that the passenger-side door is closed and/or the passenger is seated and wearing a seat belt whenever the vehicle is in motion. The safety order also proposes that the company pay a fine of $1,500.

Chetrice Mosley, spokeswoman for the Indiana Department of Labor, said S.C. Sapp has not formally replied to the safety order yet. It has until Sept. 30 to do so.

A company facing a safety order has several options. It can choose to fix the safety violations and pay the penalty as assessed. It can also request an informal conference or it can contest the safety order’s findings.

Shaun Sapp, owner of S.C. Sapp Inc., said his company does not plan to contest the findings.
“They just want us to go through a little more training,” Sapp said.

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