As Seattle remains the nation’s crane capital, Labor & Industries described how it oversees the machines.
About two weeks ago, a crane in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood malfunctioned and almost injured workers and a passing bicyclist.
“I have seven inspectors that are statewide,” said Brian Haight, Region 8 compliance manager for The Department of Occupational Safety and Health, which is part of Washington’s Labor & Industries.
The state relies on 70 state-certified, private inspection companies.
“They have to pass a rigorous set of tests and applications to have a certain level of experience,” he said.
Those private inspectors must sign off on the cranes before assembly, after assembly on-site, and at least once a year, according to Joe Sadler of Exxel Pacific. One of the general contractor’s sites is a new Even Staybridge Hotel by IHG at the corner of Mercer Street and Fairview Avenue in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood.
Sadler is Exxel Pacific’s safety director.
“The reason we have so many rules and regulations really is typically because at some point in time someone got hurt or worse,” he said.
The turning point was a deadly 2006 crane incident. It killed a man while he was inside his Bellevue apartment next to the construction site.
“It got everyone’s attention to the fact that there weren’t a lot of regulations out there,” said Haight. He said it spurred the state legislature to add regulation to the industry.