OSHA fined theChicago Tribune$7,000 for a serious safety violation at its printing plant, where a worker was killed in May when he became entangled in a conveyor belt.

The $7,000 fine is the maximum allowable penalty that OSHA can impose for a single serious citation.

The agency said Tuesday that it found theTribuneshould have placed a barricade around the conveyor belt and other machinery to prevent the worker from coming into contact with the equipment. The plant also should have posted signs warning about the potentially dangerous equipment.

"Fencing or some type of barrier should have been around that area to prevent workers from going in there inadvertently," said Gary Anderson, OSHA's Chicago area director.

Anderson said the worker apparently had triggered a motion sensor that automatically started the equipment. However, Anderson said there were no witnesses to the accident, and it was undetermined how the worker ended up caught in the machinery.

OSHA began its investigation after Isaiah Shannon was caught in the conveyor belt May 26 and his body severed at the newspaper's printing plant. Shannon, 44, was a laborer for Elite Labor Services, which contracted with theTribune.

Shannon's wife, Penelope Henderson, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against theChicago Tribuneand its parent, Tribune Co., according to court records.

In her suit, filed in June in Cook County Circuit Court, Henderson claims that theTribunewas negligent for failing to "provide adequate safeguards to prevent" Shannon's death, for failing to properly train Shannon and other laborers how to safely use the conveyor belt machines and for failing to warn Shannon about the "dangerous condition" of the area. The suit also names two manufacturers of the printing plant's conveyors.