Seattle Crane Cable Accident Under Investigation

April 14, 2017

Washington's State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) has opened an investigation into a crane accident last week in Seattle.

Compass General Construction runs the site at Western Avenue and Blanchard Street. Its vice president, Bob Strum, said workers were parking the crane for the night when part of the cable failed. Metal debris, called a block, was being hoisted by the crane when the cable snapped. Debris fell near workers, then tumbled off the building onto the street, where some pieces almost hit a bicyclist.

Compass General Construction has a decent inspection record with L&I and Strum said the crane was inspected the day before the accident. He said the manufacturer will inspect the crane, which for the time being will remained parked.

Several weeks ago, the Carpenters Union picketed the site of the mid-rise apartment building under construction at 2134 Western Avenue, complaining that workers there were not given adequate safety training. Compass was cited in March 2016 for not having an accident prevention program at a different Seattle jobsite but in the past 4 years, Compass has had no violations in 16 of the 19 inspections done at various projects.

Pedro Espinoza of the Carpenters Union believes the job-site is unsafe, in part because it's not a union site. Strum said Wednesday that any claims the site is unsafe are merely attempts to unionize workers at the open shop.  

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