OSHA has fined Lawton Transit Mix after a tragic industrial accident killed two employees and critically wounded a third in June of this year. The cost of the fine - $7,000. OSHA says Lawton Transit Mix is guilty of two violations: not properly securing the wall of concrete blocks which fell on a group of workers, and not instructing employees on how to recognize and avoid unsafe conditions.
How the families of the victims are dealing with this tragedy depends on who you ask. Cecil Powell says his daughter and grandkids are still coping with the death of Mark Barker, their husband and father. More than anything, Powell wants to make sure lessons are learned from this accident.
For 12 years, Powell says Mark Barker, his son-in-law, worked side by side with him at Pappy's corner. He'd only been working for Lawton Transit Mix for one week when disaster struck. "I continuously shake my head not knowing how it happened. I can't begin to describe how much it tears a family up," he said. Powell says he's never had a tragedy hit this close to home. In fact, he says that the day Barker lost his battle to his injuries was the toughest day of his life. Not just because of losing Mark, but also watching his daughter, Sabrina, and grandkids, Brock and Brady, suffer. "They have dwelt on the idea of not what I have lost, but what do I have and that has probably sustained them more than anything," said Powell.
7News asked Lawton Transit Mix to respond to OSHA's findings. "Really, out of respect for our employees and families, at this point, we can't make any comments until we finish our conference with OSHA," said Steve Rohde, spokesperson for the company. While they won't say much about OSHA's report, they did say they've taken steps, like adding new concrete blocks to the wall that collapsed, in hopes of preventing future disasters.
"We've always had a safe work environment got everybody. That's all I can say at this time," said Rohde. "In any unfortunate happening, you always hope lessons have been learned whereby another person won't lose their life because of a tragic happening such as this one," he said.