A machinist who had worked 31 years for a company that produces paper decorations and party goods was killed Monday when a piece of heavy machinery fell on him at the company’s Shippensburg, Pa., plant.

Wallace A. Bigler Jr., 49, an employee of Beistle Co., was moving a machine with two other employees shortly after 7 a.m. when it overturned, crushing Bigler beneath.

Bigler was pronounced dead at the scene of the plant. According to a Beistle spokeswoman, the death was the first fatality in the 100-year history of the company. An autopsy is scheduled to determine the exact cause of death.

Bigler, the lead machinist at Beistle, and other employees had moved a piece of assembly equipment from another part of the plant and were placing it when it overturned, according to Pennsylvania State Police.

The Harrisburg, Pa., office of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating the accident.

Two OSHA inspections of Beistle in the past 14 years noted two serious violations that are apparently unrelated to the fatality, according to Harrisburg area director of OSHA Bob Fink. Beistle was cited for a machine guard violation in 1990 and again in 1995.

After being notified by Beistle officials of Bigler’s death, employees were sent home with pay and were given the option of staying home the next day.