Worker dies after 60-foot fall from Seattle’s Highway 520 bridge replacement project

An overhead look at the section of the bridge where the worker fell. Credit: KOMO TV footageAn overhead look at the section of the bridge where the worker fell. Credit: KOMO TV footage

While working high above Lake Washington Thursday afternoon, a worker on Seattle’s Highway 520 bridge replacement project fell some 60 feet and died later from his injuries.

According to a report from the Seattle Times, Washington State Department of Transportation spokesman Ian Sterling said the unidentified worker was positioned atop the new floating bridge’s east highrise when he fell to a hard surface below.

State troopers were the first to arrive to the scene, the Times reports, and performed CPR on the man before firefighters transported him to the hospital. He died shortly after arrival.

“I speak for everyone at WSDOT when I say our thoughts and prayers are with the contractor’s employee’s family and colleagues for their loss,” Washington Secretary of Transportation Lynn Peterson said in a prepared statement. “I’ve directed our WSDOT team to have employee-assistance personnel and peer trauma support on site tomorrow to help anyone who might need assistance with this tragedy.:

Work on the $586 million bridge has been temporarily suspended. The project is a joint venture between the Kiewit, General and Manson firms. The companies told KOMO TV they are investigating the incident as it is still unclear why the worker fell.

Falls are the number one cause of death in the construction industry. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is encouraging contractors and construction firms to participate in the upcoming fall prevention safety stand-down May 4-15.

The second-annual event asks employers and workers to pause during the workday to discuss safety topics and participate in demonstrations and training on how to use safety harnesses, guard rails and other means to protect workers from falls.