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Holden company is fined for fatal Lee’s Summit trench collapse

Updated: 2014-01-31T00:57:53Z

By MIKE HENDRICKS

The Kansas City Star

Federal work safety regulators have proposed $35,000 in fines against the employer of a Windsor, Mo., man killed in a trench collapse last fall in Lee’s Summit.

The death of 49-year-old Brian Allen may have been prevented, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said, had there been proper trench protection as required by regulations.

Larry Strate Plumbing & Heating of Holden has 15 days to appeal the fine. Strate told The Star that he will appeal and attempt to reduce the fine.

Allen was working Oct. 24 to install a sewer line to a house being built in the 1000 block of Southwest Drake Circle when the earth gave way. It took authorities more than 24 hours to recover his body from the trench, which OSHA said was more than 40 feet long and 8 to 14 feet deep.

The company was fined $7,000 for each of five serious violations. Among them: There was no shoring to prevent a cave-in, and there was no ladder to climb out of the hole within 25 feet of employees.

“Trenching hazards result in numerous fatalities and injuries every year,” said Barbara Theriot, the OSHA area director in Kansas City. “Companies specializing in this type of work have a responsibility to protect their workers from known hazards.”

Allen had worked for the company for almost 20 years.

To reach Mike Hendricks, call 816-234-4738 or send email to mhendricks@kcstar.com.

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