U.S. Department of Labor and Michigan Pipeline Company Agree To Resolve Citations Issued for Trenching Hazards
DENVER, CO – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Kamphuis Pipeline Company – based in Grand Rapids, Michigan – have reached a settlement agreement that the excavating company will cease business operations and pay penalties of $509,071 for willful and serious violations of OSHA’s trenching and excavation standards.
The agreement – approved by Judge Patrick B. Augustine of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission in Denver, Colorado – resolves three OSHA inspections conducted at Kamphuis Pipeline Company worksites in September and October 2017. Investigators found that the company repeatedly exposed employees to trench cave-in hazards while workers installed water metering pits and lines. The company also failed to follow other requirements for working safely in trenches and excavations.
The settlement agreement requires Kamphuis Pipeline Company to pay the penalties, voluntarily terminate all operations, and dissolve the company’s corporate status in South Dakota. Company owner and founder Daniel J. Kamphuis agreed to surrender his North Dakota contractor license. Both he and the company also agreed not to have any ownership or managerial interest in any construction business conducting trenching and excavation activities within the U.S. in the future. They may engage in such activities in other capacities, but must notify OSHA and take appropriate training if they intend to resume such work.
“Workers in trenches must be protected to prevent deadly consequences,” said Loren Sweatt, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for OSHA. “This agreement demonstrates employers must take their responsibilities under the law seriously to protect workers.”
“This agreement sends a message that companies that want to do business in the trenching and excavation industry must operate safely and protect employees on the jobsite,” said Acting OSHA Regional Administrator Rita Lucero, in Denver, Colorado.
OSHA offers compliance assistance resources on safe practices for Trenching and Excavation at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.
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 help ensure these conditions for American working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.