The man was working on a column when he fell 30 feet, according to Sound Transit.
A construction worker died early Tuesday after he fell 30 to 40 feet to the ground while working on a column for Sound Transit’s Eastside light-rail extension.
Sound Transit spokeswoman Rachelle Cunningham said the worker fell about 2:40 a.m. at the construction site at Highway 520 and 148th Avenue Northeast in Bellevue. He was preparing to guide a trackway girder into place.
Washington State Patrol Trooper Rick Johnson said his agency responded to the early-morning accident, along with Redmond Police and the Bellevue Fire Department. Johnson said medics performed CPR on the man before he was taken to Harborview Medical Center, where he was declared dead.
Cunningham said she did not know the age of the victim. Sound Transit confirmed he was a longtime employee and foreman with the agency’s contractor, Kiewit-Hoffman. Workers at the construction site had been placing girders over the past couple of days. The work was routine and Kiewit had started building the segment about a week ago.
The state Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) sent five investigators to the site Tuesday after learning from news reports about the fall. Workers on the overnight shift had already been sent home but will be interviewed by L&I, spokesman Frank Ameduri said.
Work has been suspended there during the initial investigation, said Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff. After serious accidents like this, crews will sometimes take a day or two to mourn, and undergo a safety meeting. About 100 workers are in the Overlake area, the agency said.
About 1,600 workers per year are hurt in falls, the agency says. There were 63 falling deaths from 2010-15, a state fact sheet says, with just over half on homebuilding projects.
In 2015, Kiewit worker Joe Arrants of Burien, a 34-year-old carpenter, died on Washington state’s Highway 520 bridge project after falling 60 feet onto a concrete deck. State investigators found that a safety cable broke instead of saving him during the accident at the bridge’s east highrise. Kiewit and partners were fined $14,400 for five safety violations.
This is Sound Transit’s second construction death in the agency’s 21-year history. Michael Merryman, 49, a mechanic working in the Beacon Hill Tunnel, died in 2007 when he was thrown from a crashing supply train. A memorial plaque is mounted inside Beacon Hill Station.
Seattle Times transportation reporter Mike Lindblom contributed to this report.