KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Wednesday it has fined Arrow Plumbing LLC after it "failed to provide basic safeguards against trench collapse."
OSHA proposed the Oak Grove-based contracting company pay $299,590 in penalties after federal inspectors found an employee working at least 7-feet below ground in an unprotected trench in Grain Valley.
According to OSHA, Arrow Plumbing failed to provide safeguards for the employee, like a trench box or shoring material. In doing so the company exposed the employee working in a trench to unsecured electrical and gas lines.
Federal inspectors also found the employee working in a trench without head protection, which left the employee vulnerable to injury by hazards potentially falling into the trench.
The findings come after and investigation and promised reforms from Arrow Plumbing after an employee, Donald Meyer, died in a 2016 trench collapse.
OSHA, which is the federal oversight authority regulating workplace safety, said Arrow Plumbing failed to deliver the comprehensive trench safety program it promised in a settlement agreement stemming from that incident.
“After a fatal trench collapse led to an employee’s death, Arrow Plumbing’s owner signed a settlement agreement with OSHA in September 2018, in which he agreed to put in place a comprehensive trench safety program,” OSHA Regional Administrator Kimberly Stille said in a statement. “Yet, Arrow Plumbing failed to implement the agreement. Employers must follow appropriate trench safety procedures and protect workers from the serious and sometimes fatal dangers of working in unprotected trenches.”
Arrow Plumbing also failed to pay a civil monetary penalty of $225,000 which was also part of the the settlement more than two years ago.
The company has 15 days after receiving the citations to comply or request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director.
If you have a workplace safety concern that is not being addressed, employees can file a complaint with OSHA online.
41 Action News called several numbers associated with Arrow Pulmbing and its successor, R2 Plumbing, but was unsuccessful in reaching anyone about the fine.