Department of Labor Logo OSHA News Release - Region 6


September 25, 2023

 

Federal investigation of project manager’s death in trench collapse finds Oklahoma contractor exposed employees to workplace hazards

Rocking L Dozer and Land Management LLC ignored safety requirements

 

OKLAHOMA CITY – A U.S. Department of Labor workplace safety investigation found that a Caney contractor could have prevented a trench collapse that fatally injured a project manager at a McAlester work site in May 2023.

Investigators with the department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration learned that the project manager and other workers employed by Rocking L Dozer and Land Management LLC were putting gravel rock around a newly replaced 24-inch sewer line in a 10-foot-deep excavation when the trench collapsed. OSHA determined that — by not following federal safety standards for trenching and excavation work — the company exposed its employees to trench hazards.

OSHA cited the company for one willful violation for not using protective systems in a trench deeper than five feet. The agency also identified serious violations for:

  • Failing to secure obstacles on the surface area near the trench.
  • Not providing safe entry into or exit from the trench.
  • Allowing standing water in the trench.
  • Failing to perform daily inspections.

The agency has proposed $82,149 in penalties.

"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. OSHA is available to assist employers with complying with agency standards."

In operation for three years, Rocking L Dozer and Land Management LLC provides dozers, pond building, land clearing and other land management and construction services.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of citation and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Learn more about trench safety.

Learn more about OSHA.

 

Media Contacts:

Juan J. Rodríguez, 972-850-4709, rodriguez.juan@dol.gov
Chauntra Rideaux, 972-850-4710, rideaux.chauntra.d@dol.gov

Release Number: 23-1912-DAL