Northern Excavating cited for 8th time for safety violations

Northern Excavating Co in Jamestown has been cited by the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for allowing its employees to work in trenches without cave-in protection and safe means to exit the trenches, according to a news release from the Department of Labor.

In July 2014, OSHA inspectors witnessed two employees repairing a valve on a city water line in Ross, North Dakota, in an 8-foot trench. An investigation followed, and the agency cited the company for two wilful violations and one serious violation with penalties of $147,000. 

OSHA has cited Northern Excavating Co. eight times for not following trench-safety guidelines for its employees.

Northern Excavating has been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program for failing to protect workers from cave-in hazards. The company has been cited eight times since 1997 and failed to pay its most recent penalties from a 2011 inspection.

OSHA initiated the inspection July 9 under its National Emphasis Program for Trenching and Excavation. OSHA trenching standards mandate that all excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse.

Northern Excavating was cited for not providing a protective system for the trench and failing to have a designated person available to remove an employee from the hazardous trench if necessary, according to the Department of Labor. 

A willful violation is one committed with intention, knowing or voluntarily disregarding the law’s requirement, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health. 

The company also failed to provide workers a safe means of exit from the trench, resulting in one serious violation. 

An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew of or should have known exists.

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