Region 8 News Release: OSHA-22
July 10, 2001
Contact: Rich Kulczewski
NORTH DAKOTA'S COFFIN BUTTE PROJECT CONTRACTOR
ENTERS JOB SAFETY PARTNERSHIP WITH OSHA
BISMARCK, N.D. -- The Northern Improvement Company of Bismarck, N.D., has signed a partnership agreement with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to address hazards associated with trenching and excavating during the Coffin Butte Project, a rural water pipeline project in southwestern North Dakota.
One of OSHA's major goals is to reduce fatalities in the construction industry by 15 percent by focusing on the four leading causes of construction fatalities: falls, struck-by, crushed-by, and electrocution. To achieve this goal, OSHA encourages partnerships as a means of identifying and addressing significant hazards before injuries or illnesses can occur.
"Trenching and excavation hazards such as cave-ins and being struck-by equipment have accounted for over 100 fatalities per year nationwide. In fact, there have been 10 trench fatalities in North and South Dakota since 1987," said Bruce Beelman, OSHA area director in Bismarck.
"This partnership is a proactive effort to prevent serious injuries or fatalities from occurring at this site and will benefit all stakeholders involved in this project," added Beelman
OSHA Strategic Partnerships for Worker Safety and Health, which are available for all industries, exist when OSHA enters into an extended, voluntary and cooperative relationship with groups of employers, employees and employee representatives. The partnerships sometimes include other stakeholders and at times involve only one employer in order to encourage, assist, and recognize their efforts to eliminate serious hazards and achieve a high level of worker safety and health.
An OSHA Strategic Partnership aims to have a measurable, positive impact on workplace safety and health that goes beyond what historically has been achievable through traditional enforcement methods and through a focus on individual work sites.
Northern Improvement Company's Rural Water Specialty Division in Bismarck is responsible for the project which involves the installation of a water pipeline extending 137 miles throughout 700 square miles of rural southwestern North Dakota supplying water to farmers and ranchers. The project will extend through the summer and fall of 2001 and involves approximately 590 separate excavations and employs more than 50 workers.
"Our highest priority is the safety and well being of our employees," said Jack Kolberg, Vice President and Safety Director for Northern Improvement Company. "We are very excited about the opportunity to work in partnership and to combine efforts with OSHA, to provide the safest and healthiest work environment for all our employees."
Any company or association in the state interested in developing a partnership with OSHA may contact Bruce Beelman or Tom Deutscher, OSHA Compliance Assistance Specialist at 701-250-4521 in Bismarck.
ISSUED AT: 1999 Broadway, Suite 1640, Denver, Colo. 80202-5716