The Washington State Department of Transportation has been fined $22,000 over the death of a highway worker killed by a falling tree. The state Department of Labor and Industries said it levied the fine for four "serious safety violations" in the death of Billy Rhynalds, 66, of North Bend.
The Washington State Department of Transportation has been fined $22,000 over the death of a highway worker killed by a falling tree.
The state Department of Labor and Industries said it levied the fine for four “serious safety violations” in the death of Billy Rhynalds, 66, of North Bend.
Rhynalds died Jan. 16 after a falling cottonwood struck him and his car on Highway 203 near Carnation.
Rhynalds had been responding to a call of another tree that had fallen and downed a power line. While setting up highway cones to divert traffic, he was struck by the second tree, according to a news release from Labor & Industries.
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The trees were part of a grove along the banks of the Snoqualmie River, which had flooded. The roots had weakened, and high winds brought the trees down.
Labor & Industries said after its investigation that a working spotlight on Rhynalds’ truck would have allowed him to survey the area for other hazards. It also said not all maintenance technicians had been trained on chain-saw safety or how to recognize hazardous trees.
The Department of Transportation has 15 days to decide whether to appeal the fine.