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OSHA cites Arkansas contractor in sewer deaths


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited an Arkansas contractor and fined it $287,150 after two workers died from oxygen deprivation after venturing into a sewer at a job site near Oklahoma City.

OSHA said Wednesday that Texarkana, Arkansas-based Belt Construction Inc. did not perform appropriate safety testing prior to an employee climbing into a newly installed sewer manhole to conduct testing on June 14.

The worker ultimately died from a lack of oxygen, and a second worker who went into the sewer to try and rescue the first worker also subsequently died, according to OSHA.

OSHA also cited the contractor for not providing rescue equipment, failing to train workers on confined space entry procedures, and failing to obtain required federal permits.

Belt Construction, which was cited for six serious and two willful violations, has 15 days to contest the citations.