Seattle Construction Worker Dies in Light Rail Project

The family of a construction worker, Walter Burrows, was killed in an accident while working on Seattle’s Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority’s (Sound Transit) $3.7 billion East Link light-rail project. The accident occurred on May 22 when Burrows fell from a 35-foot height while working.

Investigators said that Burrows was wearing 3M’s DBI SALA Nano-Lok Self-Retracting Lifeline but that it broke when he fell from a platform. The lifeline was secured to an anchor point on the platform but during the fall, the lifeline was severed on a beveled concrete edge. His widow has filed the lawsuit against 3M, claiming that the lifeline product did not perform correctly.

Labor Board Issues Warning

The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries’ (L&I) Division of Occupational Safety and Health has issued a hazard alert hoping to prevent similar accidents. The alert notifies those wearing lifelines that abrasive or sharp edges could severe it, causing it to fail. Though retracting lifelines are often used by roofers and others working at heights, there are still quite a few accidents reported each year. These often occur because workers were not trained properly or from faulty equipment.

OSHA has issued some new guidelines and some helpful reminders to those who work at heights and use retracting lifelines.

  • Be aware that the material these lifelines are made from can be cut, damaged or severed by sharp or rough edges.
  • Always inspect the area before allowing workers to begin. Identify and fix any places where there are sharp, rough edges.
  • Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when wearing and using lifelines.
  • Train workers on the proper usage and limitations of lifelines.
  • Perform regular inspections of the areas where workers will be performing their duties each day. Cover any hazardous edges with protective materials. 
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Other facts about the case concerning the employer, Kiewit-Hoffman East Link Constructors (Kiewit), have come to light. Attorneys for the Burrows family say that the worker was never instructed properly about how to wear and use the lifeline properly. In addition, no inspection was done to the area to learn whether there were sharp edges that might pose a threat. It is also alleged that Burrows and other workers had not received basic safety training.

The Maplewood, Minnesota-based organization has denied these allegations and a jury trial is set for March 21, 2021. Burrows originally survived the 35-foot fall but later died at the hospital of his injuries.

Good Tool Storage

As all workers know, your tools represent a big investment and they are crucial to completing any job. Whether you’re building a new shed out back or a new city of the future on the Red Sea, good tools are important. Good tool storage is essential as well. It prevents damage to expensive tools, while making things readily available to workers.

RolaCase has been supplying best quality tool storage options to tradesmen and other workers for many years. Whether you have just a few tools or a whole van full, you need lightweight, durable toolboxes and RolaCase has them. They also sell many items to outfit your truck or van such as bulkhead partitions and sliding platforms. Get a few items or a whole modular storage system at RolaCase. All products are fully backed by the RolaCase guarantee.

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