The Department of Labor and Industries has cited and levied fines against the four construction contractors that were involved in the Bonney Lake SR 410 construction project accident that killed a local family.
On April 13, Josh and Vanessa Ellis, with their eight-month-old son Hudson, were driving beneath the SR 410 overpass on Angeline Road when the concrete barrier that was being cut above them fell onto their truck.
It’s been described as the worst tragedy the city of Bonney Lake has ever seen.
According to L&I, WHH Nisqually Federal Services of Tacoma was the general contractor for the pedestrian improvements on the overpass. Nisqually contracted with HighMark Concrete Contractors of Buckley to work with the concrete.
HighMark then contracted with Staton Companies of Eugene, Ore., to remove a portion of the overpass in order to expand it to include a pedestrian walkway.
Staton then contracted with Hamilton Construction of Springfield, Ore., to actually cut the barrier.
L&Is jurisdiction extends only to worker and workplace safety, which is what the department focused on in its investigation.
“Staton was fined $58,000 for one ‘willful’ and two ‘serious’ violations for exposing workers to danger while demolishing the concrete barrier on the overpass,” according to an Oct. 19 L&I press release.
According to L&I, a willful violation can be issued when the department has evidence of a “plain indifference, a substitution of judgement or an intentional disregard of a hazard or rule,” the L&I release stated.
A “serious” violation is given if there is a large probability that worker injury or death could result from a hazardous condition.
L&I’s investigation into the incident found that Staton was worried about the possibility of the concrete barrier falling onto the road below, but continued with cutting the barrier.
The investigation also found that Staton failed to provide a demolition plan to it’s subcontracting company, Hamilton, and that Staton did not follow procedures outlined in the demaolition plan they failed to give to Hamilton.
Hamilton was fined $14,700 for two “serious” violations for exposing workers to the same hazards as Staton Companies, the L&I release said.
Nisqually was fined $8,400 for another two “serious” violations for not ensuring a workplace free from recognized hazards and for exposing workers on Angeline Road to the possibility of an unplanned collapse.
Highmark was fined $4,900 for only one “serious” violation for not protecting workers from recognized hazards.
The employers of all four companies have 15 business days from receiving the citation to appeal.