Injuries on the Rise for Troubled Seattle Tunnel Project

State occupational safety figures show the Seattle tunnel project has seen a growing number of workplace injuries since 2012

Mon March 16, 2015 - National Edition
Martha Bellisle - ASSOCIATED PRESS


Photo by Dennis Bratland.  Construction area around Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel. Two columns from demolished portion of Viaduct. Near S. Royal Brougham Way and E. Frontage Road S., Seattle, Washington.
Photo by Dennis Bratland. Construction area around Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel. Two columns from demolished portion of Viaduct. Near S. Royal Brougham Way and E. Frontage Road S., Seattle, Washington.

SEATTLE - State occupational safety figures show the Seattle tunnel project has seen a growing number of workplace injuries since 2012. The injuries have resulted in almost $1 million in workers’ compensation claims.

Those hurt included a worker whose hand was crushed in the giant tunnel machine’s cutter head when he was changing the cutting tool and another who severely injured a knee in a fall.

According to a spreadsheet of claims provided to The Associated Press by state regulators, some claims from the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement project totaled several hundred dollars while others resulted in medical bills running tens of thousands of dollars.

State safety figures show more workers were injured in 2014 than the two previous years combined. The contractor, Seattle Tunnel Partners, says it emphasizes workplace safety.

Here are examples of some of the injuries and the claims associated with them:

-A laborer suffered an open wound on his leg on Nov. 27, 2013. Claim: $83,000.

-A worker suffered a traumatic injury to his knee in a fall on Jan. 24, 2014. Claim: $36,000.

-A worker’s hand was crushed in Bertha’s cutter head when he was changing the cutting tool on Jan. 4, 2014. Claim: $20,785.

-A laborer suffered chemical burns to his legs on Nov. 26, 2012. Claim: $17,222.

-A carpenter sprained his back on March 6, 2013. Claim: $85,577.

-A laborer fractured his fingers when they were caught in or compressed by equipment on Jan. 4, 2014. Claim: $17,347.

-A laborer suffered multiple bruises and sprains in a fall involving a wheelbarrow on Aug. 27, 2013. Claim: $6,269.

-A carpenter injured his shoulder while handling lumber on Aug. 13, 2014. Claim: $25,174.

-A laborer suffered a traumatic injury to his foot when he was struck by a falling object on May 20, 2014. Claim: $1,789.

-A carpenter suffered multiple sprains in a fall on Aug. 18, 2014. Claim: $6,812.




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