VIDEO: State Fines 520 Bridge Construction Company For Crane Fail | KUOW News and Information

VIDEO: State Fines 520 Bridge Construction Company For Crane Fail

Dec 24, 2014

The company building pontoons for the new Highway 520 Floating Bridge in Seattle has been slapped with a six-digit fine.

The Washington state Department of Labor and Industries says Kiewit General willfully disregarded safety concerns.

KUOW's Lisa Brooks reports, it's because of a crane failure at the company's Aberdeen construction site last June.

TRANSCRIPT

Video was rolling that day, when the lug for a concrete counterweight for a tower crane broke loose, causing the 13,000-pound weight to plunge to the ground.

Two workers quickly jumped out of the way, avoiding injury – or possibly death.

State investigators found the company that made the crane and the counterweight mechanism knew there was a problem and sent notifications about a faulty safety rigging.

Elaine Fischer, a spokeswoman with the state Department of Labor and Industries, says Kiewit General received four separate notifications between 2004 and 2011.

Fischer: “The company hadn't followed the manufacturer's recommendations to make those changes, or to use alternative safety measures."

And that constitutes a willful violation – which brings the state's highest penalty.

Kiewit General is being fined $170,500.

Fischer says the company had 16 massive counterweights in use. Some had been repaired, and some had not.

In response, Kiewit General issued a written statement disagreeing with the state’s finding that their mistakes were willful.

The company says they’ll continue to discuss the matter with state officials and might contest the findings.

The construction company has 15 days to appeal the fine.