OLYMPIA — In the wake of a deadly crane collapse in Seattle in April, the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee is considering stronger enforcement and higher fines in cases of serious safety violations.
“The 3,000 cranes being used in construction and maritime industries around our state are a good sign of a growing economy,” said Sen. Karen Keiser (D-Des Moines), the chair of the committee. “But we need to make sure that we’re constantly improving oversight to keep our construction sites safe.”
On April 27, a construction crane that was being dismantled near Lake Union collapsed, killing two workers and two passersby on the street. The state Department of Labor & Industries found that three companies committed serious safety violations, including prematurely removing parts of the crane, inadequately training staff, and lacking supervisors on site. The three companies, Morrow Equipment, GLY Construction, and NW Tower Crane, were issued fines ranging from $12,000 to $70,000.
After a 2006 crane collapse in Bellevue, the Washington Legislature tightened the state’s crane safety rules so that they match or exceed the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s rules.
The Senate Labor & Commerce Committee held a work session on crane safety on Nov. 20. Five days later, on Monday, a mobile crane toppled over in Kirkland, injuring one worker. The Department of Labor & Industries is investigating the collapse.