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Region 5 News Release: 13-696-CHI
April 22, 2013
Contact: Scott Allen     Rhonda Burke
Phone: 312-353-6976
E-mail: allen.scott@dol.gov     burke.rhonda@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA cites Berger Excavating Contractors for
failing to protect workers in trench at job site in Franklin Park, Ill.

FRANKLIN PARK, Ill. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Berger Excavating Contractors Inc. in Wauconda for two safety violations, including one willful, for failing to protect workers from cave-ins during trenching operations. The inspection was initiated under OSHA's national emphasis program for trenching and excavation after an OSHA inspector witnessed apparent cave-in hazards at a construction site in Franklin Park on March 20. Proposed penalties total $73,260.

"Companies, such as Berger Excavating Contractors, have a responsibility to follow safety regulations that protect workers from excavation hazards that are unique to their work specialty. These types of hazards result in numerous fatalities and injuries every year," said Diane Turek, OSHA's area director for the Chicago North Office in Des Plaines. "Employers that are repeatedly cited for violations of standards unique to their industry demonstrate a lack of commitment to worker safety and health. No job should cost a worker's life due to an employer's failure to properly protect and train workers."

The willful violation involves failing to provide cave-in protection to workers installing a water main in a trench approximately 7 feet deep. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health. Berger Excavating Contractors has been cited previously by OSHA for failing to provide cave-in protection in August 2010 and July 2011.

Additionally, one serious violation was cited for failing to provide a means of safe access and egress during trenching and excavation work. 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.

OSHA standards mandate that all excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse. Detailed information on trenching and excavation hazards is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and 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 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.

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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.


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