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Originally published August 10, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified August 10, 2007 at 11:17 PM

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Contractor fined $29,000 after fatal tunnel accident

After a fatal accident at the worksite of Sound Transit's light-rail Beacon Hill tunnel in February, the state Department of Labor and Industries...

Seattle Times staff reporter

After a fatal accident at the worksite of Sound Transit's light-rail Beacon Hill tunnel in February, the state Department of Labor and Industries has fined the contractor building the tunnel $29,000 for five "serious" workplace violations.

The violations are related to the operation of supply rail cars at the site. On Feb. 7 a light-rail worker was killed when an out-of-control, loaded supply train slammed into another train car.

The company, Obayashi Corp., has 15 days to respond or pay the fines. An Obayashi representative couldn't be reached for comment.

L&I sent the result of its safety and health inspection to Obayashi with a letter dated Aug. 3. In the report, L&I alleged that Obayashi:



• Failed to properly train the workers operating the supply trains.



• Did not keep the rails clean and safe for workers.



• Did not properly inspect the supply locomotives.



• Did not ensure that material being hauled on the trains was secure.



• Did not put bumper blocks to stop trains for running into one another.

Most of the violations were corrected at the time of inspection, according to the report. L&I requested written procedures for securing loads, due by Aug. 21.

Each of the violations came with a $6,500 fine, except for the inspections of supply locomotives, which carried a $3,000 fine.

Bruce Gray, a Sound Transit spokesman, said Friday that the agency had just received a copy of the L&I report and he couldn't comment on the findings.

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L&I also investigated Sound Transit but didn't find any violations or issue citations, Gray said.

After the Feb. 7 accident, Sound Transit compiled a list of new procedures and policies it demanded Obayashi follow before tunneling could resume. As a result tunneling was halted for six weeks, Gray said.

Brian Alexander: 206-464-2026 or balexander@seattletimes.com

Seattle Times staff reporter Mike Lindblom contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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