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OSHA investigating after trench collapses in Grain Valley; body recovered

1 man killed in incident
Posted at 3:25 PM, Dec 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-29 23:55:41-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A body has been recovered as of 7:37 p.m. after a trench collapsed in Grain Valley and killed a construction worker on Wednesday.

According to the Central Jackson Fire Protection District, authorities first responded to the 600 block of Southwest Hillside Drive just before noon.

Crews initially worked for about 25 minutes to free the man.

"The operation right now is kind of a hand bucket, it's delicate because the ground is not stable, and obviously our rescuers are being very careful," said Chip Portz, chief of community risk reduction with Central Jackson County Fire Protection District.

However, Portz says circumstances forced officials to switch the scene from a rescue to a recovery effort.

"The potential depth and the amount of material and the length of time that we think the individual was there," Portz said.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was also on scene investigating the collapse.

Crews were hoping to have the body recovered by 4 p.m., but it was recovered and transferred to a vehicle just after 7:30 p.m.

OSHA identified the employer as Preferred Plumbing Inc. out of Kingsville, Missouri. The company has no previous known OSHA history, according to an OSHA representative.

Early OSHA investigation determines a worker was installing plumbing lines for homes under construction in an approximately 10-foot deep trench.

Further OSHA investigation will look into whether required trench protective systems were being used.

Rhonda Burke, deputy director of public affairs with OSHA, tells KSHB 41 News OSHA has six months to complete its investigation, issue citations and propose monetary penalties if violations of safety procedures are found.