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Worker Killed in Fall from WA Bridge

Monday, March 16, 2015

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A construction worker on Washington State's SR 520 floating bridge project has succumbed to injuries suffered in a 60-foot fall that ended on concrete.

The fall occurred about 4:30 p.m. Thursday (March 12), and the worker died shortly after arriving at an area hospital in "very, very critical condition," a hospital spokesperson told the Associated Press.

Joint venture Kiewit-General-Manson, the general contractor on the $586 million job, confirmed that the victim worked for the company, but his name was not released.

SR 520 bridge
Photos: WSDOT

A construction worker died Thursday (March 12) after falling at least 60 feet while working on the SR 520 floating bridge project for general contractor Kiewit-General-Manson.

Work on the project was expected to be temporarily halted.

Investigation Underway

Bellevue Fire Department officials said the man fell about 60 feet Thursday afternoon. State troopers arrived first and performed CPR before the man was rushed to the hospital.

According to Ian Sterling, a Washington State Department of Transportation spokesman, the worker had been on top of the east highrise for the new bridge, where fixed spans extend toward the future floating bridge. The section is almost finished, the Seattle Times reported.

Kiewit-General-Manson said: "The safety of our employees is our most fundamental value and top priority. We are deeply saddened by this tragedy and our thoughts and prayers are with our employee's family and many friends.

"Kiewit-General-Mason is investigating the incident and working with the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, Department of Transportation, and other appropriate agencies."

Lynn Peterson, the state's transportation secretary, released a statement saying that she "directed our WSDOT team to have employee assistance personnel and peer trauma support on site tomorrow to help anyone who might need assistance with this tragedy."

Condolences from DOT

WSDOT's Twitter feed for the SR 520 Bridge project tweeted: "Tragic day. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the 520 worker who passed away last night."

On Facebook, WSDOT released a statement: "As you may have heard, there was an accident late yesterday afternoon on the 520 bridge project. We learned that our contractor's employee passed away at Harborview from injuries sustained from his fall.

"Our thoughts go out to his family, friends and colleagues. Working in transportation, many of us have jobs that have risks associated with the type of work we do.

Kiewit General Manson

The contractor was fined $170,500 in December after a 13,000-pound concrete counterweight broke loose while being lowered from a tower crane and fell 20 feet to the ground, narrowly missing two workers.

"Safety is and will always be our number one priority as an agency. We don't have details regarding the cause of the accident, but it will be inspected by the contractor and L&I.

"We work closely with our contractors, and loss is difficult."

Previous Safety Issues

The contractor was fined $170,500 in December after a 13,000-pound concrete counterweight broke loose while being lowered from a tower crane and fell 20 feet to the ground, narrowly missing two workers.

L&I cited the JV for one serious and three willful violations, including a willful violation for failing to follow several manufacturer's recommended changes after being notified of problems with flawed or defective lifting lugs on the counterweights. Changes were recommended in 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2011.

The company said it would appeal the citations.

In October, a worker was pulled from one of the floating pontoons after falling 15 feet into a shaft. He suffered a leg injury.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Contractors; Department of Transportation (DOT); Fall protection; Fatalities; Health & Safety; North America

Comment from MICHAEL DEATON, (3/16/2015, 6:55 AM)

R.I.P brother....God be with family of this man!

Comment from Chuck Pease, (3/16/2015, 5:08 PM)

Prayers to family and friends, along with co-workers. I see there isn't a lot of information on what caused the fall. And where was the fall protection? Kiewit is typically right on top of their safety implementation & enforcement. Sad indeed.

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