safety article
Company Ordered to Hang Up Its Shovels

An Elk Grove Village, IL, company which has repeatedly ignored OSHA’s trenching and excavation standards has been ordered to no longer engage in trenching, excavation, construction, and related work.

The US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit made the ban order against Mike Neri Sewer and Water Contractor and also gave the go-ahead for the US Department of Labor to pursue a collection action against Mike Neri to recover $110,000 in unpaid penalties.

“The court has sent a clear message that Mike Neri, like all businesses, has a legal and moral responsibility to protect workers on the job,” says Nick Walters, regional administrator for OSHA in Chicago. “OSHA will pursue all avenues to ensure employers, such as Neri, who are recalcitrant and continue to violate safety standards, learn that the law will be upheld.”

OSHA pursued coercive sanctions through the courts out of concern that Neri continued to violate trenching standards. After failing to comply with the court enforcement order, Neri was held in federal jail for 23 days in December 2014.

The April 2013 penalties were issued by OSHA for exposing workers to trenching hazards on a jobsite in Des Plaines, IL, on Oct. 3 and Oct. 11, 2012. OSHA also cited the company for trenching hazards in 2011 and 2009.

During inspections, Neri was uncooperative with inspectors and refused to acknowledge trenching hazards had occurred, even when shown photographic evidence to the contrary. Neri has not paid any of the penalties assessed by OSHA in any of the inspections.

Related content:
This safety talk spells out the hazards found in trenches and what workers need to do to stay safe.

This article presents some eye-opening statistics about trenching fatalities and hazards. Share it with your workers.

Show your workers this video on excavation and trenching hazards.


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