Contractor required to notify OSHA of jobsites to protect against cave-ins

The U.S. Department of Labor is seeking an administrative court order requiring Gerardi Sewer & Water Co., a Norridge, IL-based contractor, to provide a monthly report of its work locations to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, permit unannounced jobsite audits by qualified independent consultants and annually train workers on cave-in protection for the next two years.

“The company’s severe violator history has led us to seek this order to ensure that these worksites are safe for employees,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels. “Cave-ins are the leading cause of death in trenching operations, and Gerardi Sewer & Water Co. has demonstrated a history of blatant disregard for worker safety.”

The Labor Department filed an administrative complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission after the company contested 13 citations and $360,000 in penalties issued Dec. 17, 2010, by OSHA.

In addition to asking the review commission to uphold the cited violations and penalties, the Labor Department is requesting the order for additional compliance requirements to assure the safety of workers on future jobsites.

The company received the citations for failing to protect workers from cave-ins during trenching operations noted in four separate inspections conducted in 2010 under the OSHA Trenching and Excavation Special Emphasis Program.

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