Occupational Safety & Health Administration

Plumbing Company Faces Citations After Worker Fatally Injured in Trench Collapse

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Larry Strate Plumbing & Heating after a foreman was fatally injured October 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.

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 two 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 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.

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