Hazardous Trenching Leads to $73,000 Fine for Construction Firm

As OSHA inspectors were traveling to an inspection near Auburn they passed an open excavation where workers were not being protected from cave-ins. The OSHA officials stopped and opened an inspection at the NPL Construction site, and requested that the workers be removed from the trench.

OSHA has cited NPL Construction Co. for two safety violations for exposing workers to excavation hazards while connecting an underground natural gas line in Auburn, Ala. Proposed penalties total $73,000 following an April inspection.

NPL Construction is a pipeline construction company employing approximately 2,000 workers throughout the U.S., with corporate offices in Phoenix. The company has a local office in Moody, Ala.

As OSHA inspectors were traveling to an inspection near Auburn they passed an open excavation where workers were not being protected from cave-ins. The OSHA officials stopped and opened an inspection at the NPL Construction site, and requested that the workers be removed from the trench. One of the walls of the excavation later collapsed.

A repeat violation with $66,000 in penalties was cited for failing to provide a protective system for employees working in an excavation more than 5 feet deep. The company was cited in Connecticut in 2010 and Kansas in 2008 for the same violation.

A serious violation with a $7,000 penalty was cited for failing to ensure equipment is kept 2 feet from the edge of the excavation.

"Disregarding workers' safety by leaving them unprotected from potential cave-in hazards is unacceptable and will not be tolerated," said Kurt Petermeyer, OSHA's area director in Mobile. "The actions of the OSHA compliance officers likely saved the lives of these workers."

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