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Company Cited for Floating Bridge Death

Friday, September 18, 2015

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A Washington state contractor has been cited following the death of a worker on a floating bridge project earlier this year.

The Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has cited Kiewit/General/Manson, a Joint Venture, for five serious safety violations with penalties totaling $14,400, according to a statement the agency released Wednesday (Sept. 16).

Fatal Fall

On March 12, 2015, Joe Arrants died while working after he fell about 60 feet from the SR 520 Floating Bridge project to concrete below, according to previous reports. As he fell, the fall protection cable went over a steel edge and was severed, the agency said in its statement. He died shortly after being transferred to the hospital in “very, very critical condition,” the Associated Press said in March.


The Washington state Department of Labor & Industries has cited the general contractor of the SR 520 Floating Bridge project $14,400 for safety violations after a worker fell to his death in March.

Also according to L&I’s statement, an investigation into Arrants death found that he had been working more than 6 feet above the anchor point of his fall protection, which the agency said is not recommended by the manufacturer.

Serious Violations

Kiewit/General/Manson received a $4,800 fine for not ensuring that fall protection systems were used in accordance with fall protection standards and the manufacturer’s recommendations during forming and stripping operations.

Although not corrected during inspections because Arrants had fallen, the agency noted in its citation that the employer could receive a failure to abate if it is found again during inspection.

The agency also issued four additional penalties for violations that it said were corrected during inspection. Those are:

  • Not ensuring that all fall protection systems and components were inspected regularly for mildew, wear, damage and other deterioration and defects, a $4,800 penalty;
  • Not having a lifesaving skiff immediately available in the event a worker fell into the water, a $1,600 penalty;
  • Not providing a ring buoy with at least 90 feet of line for rescue operations, a $1,600 penalty;
  • Not ensuring that all hand tools and similar equipment were maintained in a safe condition, a $1,600 penalty.

The company has 15 working days to appeal, the agency said in its statement.

Company Response

The joint venture company is the general contractor on the $586 million job for the Washington State Department of Transportation, according to previous reports. Kiewit’s website includes a page for the project, which began in 2011 and included building the new bridge and demolishing the old one.

A phone number listed for the joint venture on the WSDOT website was not answered Thursday (Sept. 17). However, the company issued the following response following Arrant’s death in March:

“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.”

Safety History

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. The counterweight narrowly missed 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.

In 2014, 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; Fall protection; Fatalities; Health & Safety; Health and safety; North America; OSHA; OSHA; Roads/Highways; Safety

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