Washington Department of Transportation
With the Olympic Mountains in the background, construction on the West Connection Bridge progresses on Lake Washington in Seattle. Once complete, the bridge will connect the new floating bridge to the existing SR 520 west approach.

Washington Contractor Cited for Safety Violations Related to Fatal Bridge Fall

Sept. 17, 2015
A worker plunged approximately 60 feet to his death when a concrete form shifted on the SR 520 Floating Bridge, causing him to lose his balance and fall.

The Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has cited the general contractor on the SR 520 Floating Bridge Project – Kiewit/General/Manson, a Joint Venture – for serious safety violations following the death of worker Joe Arrants in March. Arrants was killed when he fell approximately 60 feet to the dock below. L&I issued five serious safety violations, with penalties totaling $14,400.

On March 12, Arrants and another worker were removing concrete forms suspended from the bridge when one of the large forms shifted and caused the victim to fall. As he fell, the fall protection cable went over a steel edge and was severed. The investigation found that the victim had been working more than six feet above the anchor point of his fall protection, which is not recommended by the manufacturer and increases the risk of damage to the cable.

The employer was cited for a serious violation and fined $4,800 for not ensuring that fall protection systems were used in accordance with fall protection standards and the manufacturer’s recommendation during forming and stripping operations.

Four additional violations were found during the investigation:

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

The employer has 15 working days to appeal. Penalty money paid in connection with a citation is placed in the workers’ compensation supplemental pension fund, helping workers and families of those who have died on the job.

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