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Protecting Construction Workers from Crane & Power Line Accidents

Construction is a rigorous career that can be very dangerous, particularly if employers cut corners with regard to safety on the job. Over the years, State Workers’ Compensation Agencies implemented important safety measures to protect construction workers while they are on job sites.

Crane Accidents

Seattle Crane Incident

In November 2017, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries fined Kirkland-based Compass General Construction for two different safety violations. An L & I inspector found that one of Compass’ cranes located near a high-voltage power line failed to take appropriate safety precautions before the crane was engaged. For worker safety, employers are required to provide a spotter and highly visible flagging to keep the crane away from the power lines. Compass failed to provide either of these safety precautions after a May 2017 visit from L&I safety inspectors.

The safety failures resulted in two “willful” violations with fines totally $96,000 levied by L&I. The company has been placed on a “severe violators” list with required follow-up inspections.

These inspections and the resulting fines for safety violations help protect injured workers. In addition to providing medical and financial benefits for injured workers, the Department of Labor & Industries takes workplace safety very seriously. In July 2012, L&I issued a safety alert to employers warning of the safety area when cranes work near overhead power lines. This alert followed six separate crane/electric wire contacts in 2012. There have been nine deaths due to crane and power line accidents in Washington in the last 18 years–far too many.

Preventing Construction Accidents

We see cases every year that could have been prevented if employers and employees followed proper safety regulations. Although you cannot sue your employer or a coworker and workers’ comp benefits are “no fault,” you should immediately report unsafe work conditions to your employer, a union representative, or the Department of Labor & Industries.

Safety diligence on the part of employers and workers prevent many Workers compensation injuries. However, if you have been injured on a construction site, contact our office immediately. We can help you receive the benefits you deserve.

To read more about the citations issued to Compass General Motors, you can visit the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries.

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