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Plumbing contractor faces OSHA citations after trench death

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A Missouri plumbing contractor is facing $714,142 in proposed penalties after a 33-year-old worker died while working in an unprotected trench.

Inspectors for the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration found another employee of Blue Springs, Missouri-based Arrow Plumbing L.L.C. working in a similarly unprotected trench at another job site a month after the employee died in December 2016, OSHA said Monday in a statement.

OSHA determined that in both cases Arrow Plumbing failed to provide basic safeguards to prevent trench collapse and did not train its employees to recognize and avoid cave-in and other hazards. The agency cited the employer for six willful and eight serious violations of workplace safety standards.

A company spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.

Trench collapses are among the most dangerous hazards in the construction industry, according to OSHA, which received reports of 23 deaths and 12 injuries nationwide in trench and excavation operations in 2016. In the first five months of 2017, 15 deaths and 19 injuries have been reported in the United States.

“We call on all employers involved in excavation work to review their safety procedures and to ensure that all workers are properly protected and trained on the job,” Kimberly Stille, OSHA’s regional administrator in Kansas City, Missouri, said in a statement.