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Region 7 News Release: 14-144-KAN
Jan. 30, 2014
Contact: Scott Allen      Rhonda Burke
Phone:       312-353-6976
Email: allen.scott@dol.gov      burke.rhonda@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA cites Missouri plumbing company after
worker fatally injured in trench collapse

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Larry Strate Plumbing & Heating after a foreman was fatally injured Oct. 24, 2013, while working in an excavated trench in Lee's Summit. The worker was installing sanitary sewer lines at a residential home under construction when the incident occurred. Five serious violations have been issued to the Holden–based company.

"This was a tragic incident that may have been prevented with the installation of trench protection and with additional employee training," said Barbara Theriot, OSHA's area director in Kansas City, Mo. "Trenching hazards result in numerous fatalities and injuries every year. Companies specializing in this type of work have a responsibility to protect their workers from known hazards."

Five serious violations were issued involving failing to:

  • Provide a safe means or egress from a trench.
  • Protect workers in a trench from the trench collapsing.
  • Ensure equipment and soil piles are maintained at least 2 feet from a trench.
  • Inspect trenches daily, prior to each shift and after, to ensure stability.
  • Train workers to recognize hazards associated with trenches.

OSHA trenching and excavation standards mandate that all excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse. OSHA implemented a national emphasis program for trenching and excavation in the 1980s.

OSHA has proposed fines of $35,000. Larry Strate Plumbing & Heating has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Kansas City, Mo., office at 816-483-9531.

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 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 http://www.osha.gov.

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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.


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