OSHA seeks court order against contractor for cave-in hazards

Chicago – OSHA is pursuing court action to require a contractor with a history of recent OSHA violations to take corrective steps, such as annual employee safety training.

Norridge, IL-based Gerardi Sewer & Water Co. received 13 citations and $360,000 in penalties on Dec. 17 for allegedly failing to protect workers from cave-ins during trenching operations. The company was previously cited for similar violations a year ago.

Gerardi is contesting the new citations, which OSHA requested the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission to uphold in addition to ordering further compliance requirements of the employer. The requirements include:

  • Provide a monthly report of its work locations to OSHA.
  • Permit unannounced jobsite audits by a qualified independent consultant.
  • Annually train workers on cave-in protection for the next two years.

The administrative complaint filed with OSHRC is only the second time OSHA has taken such measures. "The company's severe violator history has led us to seek this order to ensure that these worksites are safe for employees," OSHA administrator David Michaels said in a Jan. 18 press release.

The December violations meet the requirements of OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program (.pdf file).

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