A long-time employee of Kiewit-Hoffman has died this morning after a tragic fall from a light rail column at a Sound Transit East Link extension construction site in Bellevue. According to the Department of Labor and Industries, the construction company has been cited in the past for safety violations as recent as 2015 after another employee was killed while working on the 520 floating bridge, also due to a fall. The company was fined $14,400. At the time of the incident, Kiewit was not partners with Hoffman.
This morning’s accident happened about 3:00 a.m. when the man fell about 30-40 feet from one of the Sound Transit columns. It is unknown what task he had been performing at the time, other than girder placement.
Of the 520 bridge incident, Labor and Industries stated “The employer did not ensure that the appropriate fall protection system was implemented”, and also said to have found that fall protection systems had not been properly inspected, a lifesaving skiff was not available to the workers and that some tools were in sub-par condition.
The Washington Department of Labor and Industries is already on the scene this morning conducting an investigation, focusing on circumstances and potential violations.
“Everything is on the table”, the agency’s spokesperson said.
Unfortunately, this is not the first fatality during the Sound Transit light rail program, the first occurring in 2007 at the Beacon Hill tunnel.
Labor and Industries cites about 12,000 fall-related injuries between 2007-2016.