OSHA fines Norridge-based sewer company

By Alejandra Cancino
Posted Dec. 21, 2010 at 11:32 a.m.

Norridge-based Gerardi Sewer & Water Co. was issued multiple safety citations for failing to protect workers from cave-ins during trenching operations, said the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Cave-ins are a leading cause of deaths during excavations.

The company was issued eight willful, two serious and three repeat safety citations for work performed in Elmhurst, Park Ridge, Oak Lawn and Des Plaines.

“At each of these four jobsites, Gerardi’s president and foreman were present and still failed to protect their workers despite their knowledge of required safety procedures,” David Michaels, OSHA’s assistant secretary of labor, said in a written statement.

OSHA inspectors reported that Gerardi workers didn’t wear hard hats or high visibility vests, and that on separate locations, the company failed to remove water accumulation from two different trenches. The inspections took place between June 25 to November 17.

“This situation demonstrates a systematic problem with the way this company approaches safety and demonstrates an egregious disregard for workers’ lives,” Michaels said.

Gerardi faces a fine of $360,000. The company couldn’t be reached for comment.

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