March 18, 2015
Secretary of Transportation Lynn Peterson statement regarding recent construction incidents
At the Washington State Department of Transportation, we have a strong safety culture. Anytime there is an incident, we examine our safety practices and the actions we take on a daily basis. In light of recent events, I am directing the following actions:
- All project offices statewide will participate in safety stand-downs during the next 30 days to review safety protocols and expectations, as well as the agency’s safety strategy, “Journey to Injury Free.” (A safety stand-down typically occurs after an incident. Operations stop on a project for personnel on every shift to review safety protocols and procedures.)
- WSDOT engineers will perform walk-throughs on all static jobsites, providing an additional review of the contractor’s safety documentation to ensure it is meeting contract requirements.
- Project staff will review weekly safety meetings between WSDOT and contractors to affirm they are conducting thorough discussions of safety and hazard analysis on jobsites.
- John Milton, currently WSDOT’s Director of Enterprise Risk Management, has been appointed as the new Director of Quality Assurance and Transportation System Safety. His first priorities are to ensure all contract safety protocols are being followed, and to identify any opportunities for improvement.
While we have lowered our number of recordable injuries as an agency during the past two years, we can do better. It remains our priority to make significant progress in reducing recordable injuries through our daily attention to safety in all actions we take.
Joint Statement from WSDOT and Flatiron Construction
Our thoughts are with the individuals who were injured in the SR 520 incident that occurred last night. We collectively thank the Metro bus driver for his quick actions in the situation and the first responders on the scene.
Safety is WSDOT’s number one priority – for the travelling public, our employees, and our contractor’s employees. We expect all WSDOT contractors to follow all safety rules and regulations to the highest standard. Flatiron Construction, the contractor on the SR 520 West Approach Bridge Project, is equally committed to achieving and maintaining safety on the SR 520 corridor. Last night’s incident was during a routine operation that has been performed safely and successfully many times by the contractor working on the SR 520 West Approach Bridge North Project since October 2014.
Flatiron has suspended all construction work related to this incident while an investigation is underway and procedures are reviewed so that the public and all construction workers are safe at the job site. Flatiron is working closely with the Department of Labor and Industries to understand the result of the ongoing investigation and the cause of the incident. Based on the outcome of the investigation, Flatiron will take all appropriate actions to ensure safety on the project site and for the travelling public.