GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. — A metro contractor continued to expose workers to dangerous working conditions, even after an employee’s death in 2016, according to inspectors.

The US Department of Labor proposed fining Arrow Plumbing nearly $800,000 after it said the company repeatedly exposed two workers because the company refused to follow safety standards.

It comes nearly five years after the company was fined following a deadly trench collapse. Donald Meyer of Oak Grove died in the 2016 accident.

OSHA inspectors visited another Arrow Plumbing site in Blue Springs on Oct. 14, 2021. They found 12 alleged safety violations, including two employees working in an unprotected trench that had been weakened by water pooling in an excavation site.

OSHA said the company also allowed workers to walk under suspended loads, failed to provide hardhats, used ladders improperly, failed to train workers and exposed them to struck-by hazards.

The agency cited the Arrow Plumbing and owner Rick Smith for four willful violations, one repeated violation and seven serious violations of federal standards.

“Even though Arrow Plumbing and owner Rick Smith agreed to implement a comprehensive trench safety program after a previous fatal trench collapse, employees were again found to be working in an unprotected trench,” Karena Lorek, OSHA Area Director in Kansas City, Missouri, said. “This conduct is unacceptable, and OSHA will do everything possible to hold Mr. Smith accountable for failing to protect his workers.”

According to OSHA, Arrow Plumbing agreed to hire a safety consultant to design and implement a trench safety program after the death of an employee in 2016. The agency said the consultant was not hired until Feb. 1, 2021. OSHA said the agreement also required the company to pay $225,000 in fines over four years. So far, Arrow has only made one payment, according to OSHA.

Calls to Arrow Plumbing were not answered as of Thursday morning.

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