Excavation Hazards Earn Pipeline Contractor $455K Fine

April 18, 2018

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Kamphuis Pipeline Company for exposing employees to potential trench cave-ins and other serious hazards while installing water metering pits and lines in Tappen and Dawson, North Dakota

OSHA inspected the water project site in Logan and Kidder counties in September and October 2017. Inspectors determined that the company failed to protect employees from struck-by hazards; did not place excavated soil piles far enough away from trench edges; and failed to use appropriate protective systems during trenching operations.

Safety violations noted included:

  • Workers lacked safe means of egress in trench excavation greater than 4 feet deep
  • Workers exposed to cave-in hazards due to water accumulation in trench at eight feet deep
  • Workers exposed to overhead struck-by hazards in unprotected pit
  • Workers exposed to struck-by hazards where rolling rock, clumps of soil, water pump hose, gas generator, pipe sleeves and container of sealing compound were placed directly on the end of an eight foot deep trench

Kamphuis Pipeline 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.”

Kamphuis Pipeline Company has contested the citations and the case will be reviewed by an independent Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission.