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Region 5

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U.S. Department of Labor | Nov. 9, 2015

Schaumburg, Illinois, sewer and water contractor
again exposes workers to trench cave-in hazards
OSHA cites Mr. Rooter of Cook County 5 times in 3 years; proposes more than $63K in fines

MOUNT PROSPECT, Ill. — For the fifth time in three years, a Schaumburg employer put its workers in a trench without providing cave-in protection or a safe means of exit. As a result, two workers risked being crushed under thousands of pounds of soil if trench walls collapsed. The workers were installing water service at a Mount Prospect single-family home in an unprotected trench more than 5 feet deep.

Following an inspection, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued VKR Enterprises, operating as Mr. Rooter of Cook County, one willful citation for lack of cave-in protection. The company also received two repeated OSHA safety citations for not providing safe egress from a trench and protective helmets for employees. Proposed penalties total $63,910.

"An unprotected trench can bury a worker in seconds and cause severe or fatal injuries," said Angeline Loftus, OSHA's area director at its Chicago North Office in Des Plaines. "Last year, a Mr. Rooter employee escaped serious injury in a trench collapse in Niles. It is inexcusable that this employer continues to expose workers to dangerous conditions. The company knows that every trench deeper than 5 feet must have cave-in protection."

View current citations here*.

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 and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report amputations, eye loss, 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

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Media Contacts:

Scott Allen, 312-353-6976,
Rhonda Burke, 312-353-6976,

Release Number: 15-2063-CHI

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