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Contractormag 11879 Entrenchment

Missouri Plumbing Contractor Admits to Violating Trench Safety Requirements

Oct. 31, 2018
An employee suffered fatal injuries when an unprotected trench collapsed on him as he worked.

KANSAS CITY, MO – Arrow Plumbing LLC has ­admitted to willfully violating the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety standards ­by failing to require and enforce the use of trench boxes or other trench protection techniques ­at a home construction site in Belton, Missouri. An employee suffered fatal injuries when an unprotected trench collapsed on him as he worked.

Under terms of a stipulation and settlement agreement entered before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, the Blue Springs, Missouri, company ­– and its successor company R2 Plumbing LLC ­– agreed to implement several safety enhancements. These include hiring a safety consultant to design and implement a trench safety program, and conduct safety and health audits; providing extensive training for employees; reporting trenching-related incidents and near misses to OSHA; conducting meetings at new worksites to address hazards; and completing OSHA construction, and trenching and excavation training courses. The company will also pay a civil monetary penalty of $225,000.

“Trenching and excavation work can be extremely dangerous,” said OSHA Acting Regional Administrator Bonita Winingham. “This settlement serves as a commitment by the employer to abate the identified workplace hazards, and implement additional safety measures to make their workplaces safer. The employer has also committed to ensuring continuous compliance with OSHA safety standards to prevent tragedies such as trench collapses from recurring.”

The agreement resolves similar violations cited following a December 2016 trench fatality and a January 2017 inspection where OSHA observed company employees working in an unprotected trench.

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 America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit

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