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Southeast Oklahoma contractor accused of exposing employees to hazardous work conditions, leading to death

A contractor in Southeast Oklahoma is being accused of exposing employees to a hazardous work environment by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Investigators found a project manager and other workers employed by Rocking L Dozer and Land Management LLC, out of Caney, could have prevented a trench collapse that fatally injured one of their workers at a McAlester worksite in May.

According to a news release from the Department of Labor, workers were putting down gravel around a newly replaced sewer line in a 10-foot deep excavation when the trench collapsed.

OSHA investigators found that by not following federal safety standards for trenching and excavation work, the company exposed employees to trench hazards.

"A worker has lost their life because Rocking L Dozer and Land Management disregarded its responsibility to ensure the safety of its employees," said OSHA Area Director Steven Kirby in Oklahoma City. "Employers are required by law to follow safety and health procedures that are put in place to prevent tragedies like this from occurring."

The agency has proposed more than $82,000 in penalties. The contracting company has 15 business days to comply with the penalties or contest the findings.

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Kateleigh Mills was the Special Projects reporter for KOSU from 2019 to 2024.
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