After a lengthy investigation, the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) presented four construction contractors a series of citations and fines for workplace safety hazards on a Bonney Lake bridge project that turned fatal earlier this year.
In April, a section of the bridge being demolished fell onto the traffic below, crushing a vehicle passing underneath the overpass. All three passengers were killed, including an eight-month old child.
“Demolition is one of the most hazardous operations in construction… Preparing and following a specific safety plan that anticipates the worst case conditions is critical. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen in this case” – Anne Soiza, Assistant Director for L&I Division of Occupational Safety & Health.
All four contractors who were working on the site at the time of the accident were fined with various levels of severity. The fines were a mix of willful and serious violations related to exposing workers to dangers associated with demolition. The most serious violation was the failure to provide a demolition plan to the subcontractors and for continuing the work despite safety concerns.
As defined by L&I, a willful violation can be issued if there is evidence of plain indifference, a substitution of judgment or an intentional disregard of a hazard or rule. A serious violation exists in a workplace if there is a substantial probability that worker death or serious physical harm could result from a hazardous condition. It is therefore crucial for organizations to thoroughly analyze the projects at hand and develop their safety plans accordingly.
Feel free to contact The Integrated Group for consultation or help creating Site Specific Safety Plans, or for consultation on the hazards of demolition. 425-822-8500 or firstname.lastname@example.org