Plumbing company cited with 5 violations after work dies in trench collapse

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited and fined an area plumbing company after a deadly trench collapse in October.

OSHA has cited Larry Strate Plumbing & Heating with five serious violations after foreman Brian D. Allen, 49, died after being trapped inside a trench on a residential construction site in Lee's Summit, Mo.

The violations issued included failure 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 two feet from a trench; inspect trenches daily, prior to each shift and after, to ensure stability; and train workers to recognize hazards associated with trenches.

OSHA has proposed fines of $35,000.

Company owner Larry Strate was shocked by the findings and told 41 Action News, "I plan to contest the OSHA report. I loved Brian like a son."

Brian Allen's wife Angela said, "My husband was a loving husband, father and grandfather and he was a hard worker. We have been together for 15 years and are taking this all day by day. I hope that this accident opens people's eyes to the danger of trenching so that nobody elese has to go losing a loved one in this way."

Lee's Summit Police Department told 41 Action News at the time,  the two men were working on the site near SW Ward Road and SW Drake Circle, when the trench began to fill with dirt.

The two-man crew was working to connect a sewer line from a house to the city's sewer line.

It took more than 24-hours to recover Allen's body from the trench, which was estimated at 75 feet long and more than 15 feet deep.

The trench has since been filled in.

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