An excavation contractor that exposed its employees to trench cave-in and other hazards is contesting the violations issued to it by OSHA – along with the proposed penalties of $454,750.

An OSHA investigation found that while performing work on two municipal water project sites in North Dakota, Kamphuis Pipeline Company failed to:

  • protect employees from struck-by hazards
  • did not place excavated soil piles far enough away from trench edges
  • failed to utilize appropriate protective systems during trenching operations
  • did not identify hazards and take corrective action when warranted

“Trenching and excavation are among the most hazardous construction operations, and employers have an obligation to follow safety requirements designed to protect their workers,” said Eric Brooks, OSHA Bismarck Area Office Director. “This employer’s failure to install protective systems put workers at risk of serious injuries from a trench collapse.”

The case will be reviewed by an independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.