EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – An Arkansas construction contractor has been fined thousands of dollars following the deaths of two workers in Edmond earlier this year.

On June 14, 2022, an employee of Belt Construction climbed into a newly installed sewer manhole to conduct testing when he lost consciousness.

A second employee climbed into the manhole to rescue the first employee, but he also became unconscious.

When Edmond firefighters arrived at the scene, they sent monitors into the manhole and found that the atmosphere was deficient of oxygen.

Both men were pulled from the manhole, but they later died from their injuries.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that the company did not complete required planning before allowing workers to enter the space.

“Two lives were lost – and family, friends and co-workers are left to grieve – because Belt Construction Inc. failed to follow legally required steps designed to prevent a needless incident like this from happening,” said OSHA Area Director Steven Kirby in Oklahoma City. “Employers assigning people to work inside a confined space must comply with safety standards, including providing and ensuring the use of required safety equipment, and obtain all necessary permits before the job starts to avoid tragedy.”

OSHA cited the company for six serious and two willful violations and proposed $287,150 in penalties.