OSHA: Missouri Plumbing Contractor Fined $299.5K for Trench Safety Violations
Barely two years after an Oak Grove, Missouri, plumbing contractor agreed to adopt a comprehensive trench safety program following the December 2016 death of an employee in an unprotected trench, federal inspectors responding to a complaint in August 2020 found another of the company’s employees working at least seven feet below ground in an unprotected trench.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Arrow Plumbing LLC for two repeated and two serious violations of trenching standards, and proposed total penalties of $299,590.
OSHA alleges the contractor failed to provide basic safeguards against trench collapse, such as a trench box or shoring material, and exposed an employee working in a trench to unsecured electrical and gas lines. The agency also alleges the company allowed an employee to work in a trench without head protection while exposed to overhead struck-by hazards.
OSHA investigators also allege Arrow Plumbing failed to comply with the terms of a stipulation and settlement agreement entered before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission in 2018. The agreement required the company to hire a safety consultant to design and implement a trench safety program, and ensure employees complete OSHA construction, and trenching and excavation training courses. The company also failed to pay a negotiated civil monetary penalty of $225,000.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.