Building Trades

Death of a Construction Worker in Seattle

August 19, 2014
By Stephanie West

Seattle, Washington –  Washington’s Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) cited  three companies for safety violations related to the death of a construction worker in downtown Seattle in January. The man died after falling 72 feet from a scaffold at a construction site on Taylor Avenue North.

North Coast Iron Corp, an Anacortes subcontractor, provided labor to install steel at the jobsite and was responsible for the safety of its workers at the site. North Coast Iron was cited for three willful and four serious violations, with proposed penalties of $85,200. RDMDMDSRM, LLC, a Spokane general contractor, was a controlling employer at the jobsite and was also responsible for the safety of the North Coast ironworkers. The company was cited for three willful and two serious violations with proposed penalties of $85,800.
North Coast Iron had a verbal agreement with RDMDMDSRM to supply labor while installing steel at the jobsite. This constituted a “dual-employer” relationship where both employers failed to provide for the safety of the exposed employees.
The investigation also found that SRM Development, LLC, of Spokane, the parent company of RDMDMDSRM, was controlling the work at the jobsite and did not provide for the safety of the workers. SRM Development was cited for three willful and two serious violations, with proposed penalties of $85,800.
The investigation turned up numerous problems. The scaffold was not inspected properly. The edge of the platform was approximately five feet from the face of the building without a guardrail or other adequate fall protection. Workers lacked adequate personal fall protection equipment. Workers were not given specific training in fall-protection hazard recognition and requirements to ensure they had the right equipment and used it correctly. Workers were not provided specific training to recognize hazards and work safely from the type of scaffold at the jobsite.

“This tragedy could have been prevented if any one of these companies had made certain that proper and safe scaffolding was installed to do the necessary work, and workers had appropriate fall-protection and training,” said Anne Soiza, assistant director for L&I’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health. “Frequent hazard analysis on construction sites will save lives.”

August 19, 2014

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