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The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has reached a settlement agreement with an excavating company that will cease business operations and pay penalties of $509,071 for willful and serious violations of the agency’s trenching and excavation standards.
The agreement between OSHA and Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Kamphuis Pipeline Co. was approved by an Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission judge in Denver on Aug. 9 and brings closure to three OSHA inspections conducted at the company’s worksites in South Dakota, according to a statement issued by OSHA on Monday.
In 2017, OSHA investigators found that the company repeatedly exposed employees to trench cave-in hazards while workers installed water metering pits and lines and that the company also failed to follow other requirements for working safely in trenches and excavations, according to the statement.
The settlement agreement requires Kamphuis 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 and 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 United States in the future, according to the agency. They may engage in such activities in other capacities but must notify OSHA and take appropriate training if they intend to resume such work, according to the statement.
The company could not be reached for comment.
The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia has found a New Jersey construction company and its president in contempt of court for failing to pay $412,000 in penalties levied by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.