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Nearly half mill in fines for trench hazards in Illinois (1/14/11)



OSHA has issued a total of $473,000 in fines against two Illinois contractors who willfully exposed workers to trenching and excavation hazards. Cited in separate incidents were Di Paolo Co. in Glenview and Gerardi Sewer & Water Co. in Norridge.

Di Paolo was cited with 10 violations and fined $113,000 for allowing workers at a site in Elgin to perform trenching and excavation work at depths of up to 12.5 feet without cave-in protection. OSHA standards require that all excavations five feet or deeper be protected against collapse. Gerardi was cited with 13 violations and fined $360,000 after four separate inspections conducted under OSHA’s Trenching and Excavation Special Emphasis Program found that the company failed to properly protect workers at several worksites from trench cave-ins.

OSHA had previously issued a combined total of 48 citations to these two companies since 1982. The Gerardi case meets the criteria for OSHA's Severe Violators Enforcement Program, which focuses enforcement efforts on certain employers who defy or ignore their OSH Act obligations.

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