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A Missouri plumbing contractor has settled workplace safety citations issued after an employee suffered fatal injuries when an unprotected trench collapsed on him, with the company agreeing to pay a penalty of $225,000.
Blue Springs, Missouri-based Arrow Plumbing LLC admitted to willfully violating U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s 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, according to an agency statement issued on Tuesday.
Under terms of a stipulation and settlement agreement entered before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, the company – and its successor company R2 Plumbing LLC – agreed to hire a safety consultant to design and implement a trench safety program, conduct safety and health audits, train employees, report trenching-related incidents and near misses to OSHA, conduct meetings at new worksites to address hazards and complete OSHA construction and trenching and excavation training courses.
“Trenching and excavation work can be extremely dangerous,” Bonita Winingham, OSHA acting regional administrator in Kansas City, said in the statement. “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.”
A company spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has reached a $140,000 settlement with a heating and plumbing contractor who allegedly fired two long-time employees when they reached age 62, and had also retaliated against one of the workers for resisting its plans.