Aug. 26, 2014
OSHA cites DiMeo Brothers for exposing workers to falls, trench cave-ins
while installing storm sewers in Glenview, Illinois
GLENVIEW, Ill. – Two employees of DiMeo Brothers Inc. were observed on April 14 working in a 25 foot-deep trench without adequate cave-in protection while installing storm sewers for the Village of Glenview. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited the sewer and water contractor for one willful and two serious safety violations carrying proposed penalties of $44,660.
DiMeo Brothers, headquartered in Elk Grove Village, was awarded a contract from the Village of Glenview to construct the Navy By-Pass Storm Sewer Project and an easement to alleviate flooding along Shermer Road, Patriot Boulevard and Compass Road in the village, adjacent to the former Glenview Naval Air Station.
"Trench collapses can occur suddenly, and it is only a matter of minutes before a worker becomes trapped. DiMeo Brothers failed to meet their responsibility to adequately protect employees working in trenches," said Angeline Loftus, OSHA's area director for Chicago North. "Violations of trenching standards result in numerous fatalities and injuries every year, and no employee should become a statistic."
OSHA initiated the inspection under the National Emphasis Program for trenching and excavation, which was implemented in the 1980s.
One willful violation was cited for failing to ensure workers were adequately protected from cave-in hazards while working in a trench approximately 25 feet in depth. Cave-in protection was placed about 8 feet off the bottom of the trench, which was not an adequate depth to protect the workers. OSHA standards mandate that all excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse. Detailed information on trenching and excavation hazards is available from OSHA.
A willful violation is one committed with intentional disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
The investigation also found that the company failed to provide life jackets to employees working over water and fall protection for use when working around the deep trench, resulting in the issuance of two serious violations. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
DiMeo Brothers was previously cited by OSHA in 2010 and 2013. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission.
To ask questions; obtain compliance assistance file a complaint or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Chicago North Area Office at 847-803-4800.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
Release Number: 14-1508-CHI
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