All posts by Kit Case

Ship Carrying Four Huge New Container Cranes to Arrive in Tacoma, WA Friday, Feb 23rd

The Northwest Seaport Alliance announced that a huge ship carrying four of the West Coast’s largest container cranes is scheduled to travel through Puget Sound Feb. 23 to Tacoma:

Puget Sound Pilots are scheduled to board the Zhen Hua 28, a 761-foot-long heavy-lift ship, early Friday morning in Port Angeles and begin the journey to Tacoma. Track the ship’s progress.

Here are possible viewpoints along Puget Sound. Note: We will not be able to provide access to secure marine terminals. 

If you get to see the ship en route, snap a picture and add it to the viewpoint map!

The ship will sit at anchor in Commencement Bay for a day or two before delivering the cranes to Husky Terminal at the northwest end of the Blair Waterway.

The Northwest Seaport Alliance ordered eight new super-post-Panamax cranes from Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co. Ltd (ZPMC) in China through a competitive bid process. No container cranes currently are manufactured in the U.S. Learn more about the cranes in this short video.

ZPMC is the largest heavy-duty equipment manufacturer in the world and delivers more than 200 cranes every year around the world, including many seaports in the U.S.

The other four cranes will arrive in 2019.

When they arrive, the cranes will be installed at Husky Terminal, which is undergoing about $250 million in terminal improvements that began in September 2016 on Tacoma’s General Central Peninsula.

Upgrades include strengthening and realigning a berth and adding eight new super-post-Panamax cranes capable of serving two 18,000-TEU container ships at the same time. Learn more about the project.

The new cranes will have an outreach of 24 containers and a lift height of 165 feet above the pier deck.

Follow NWSA on social media for updates at #NWSACranes and #port253.

About the New, Larger Container Cranes Coming to the Port of Tacoma, WA

The Northwest Seaport Alliance released a video report about the four new super-post-Panamax container cranes, built in Shanghai by Zhenhua Heavy Industries Company Limited (ZPMC), that are currently on their way to the Port of Tacoma. While awaiting their arrival later this month, they caught up with Port of Tacoma’s Maintenance Project Manager Joe Caldwell about these giant structures and their inspection process.


Image credit:

The Boeing Company Makes a Big Investment in its Employees With Auburn, WA Training Facility

Boeing showcased its commitment to the Auburn community and the entire Puget Sound region with the grand opening of its Workforce Readiness Center.

The Workforce Readiness Center is the first new building at the Auburn site in 25 years.

The center, which features state-of-the-art training and equipment, is dedicated to giving workers the skills they need to contribute to a 21st century workforce.

The 71,000 square foot Workforce Readiness Center houses:

  • Equipment services training for mechanics and technicians to receive new training and obtain necessary re-certifications.
  • A robotics lab, where employees can learn next-generation manufacturing.
  • Safety courses, which ensure Auburn remains the leader in workplace safety.
  • The first onsite IAM/Boeing Joint Program collaborative safety development curriculum with the International Association of Machinists.

Boeing is the largest private employer in Washington state, with nearly half of Boeing’s employees located in the state. This new center highlights Boeing’s commitment to employees in Washington and the region’s long-term economic success.

Read more about the opening of Boeing’s Workforce Readiness Center.

Photo credit: The Boeing Company

Newly Revised Form LS-208 – Notice of Payments

The Office of Workers Compensation, Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation has revised the Form LS-208 (Notice of Payments) to incorporate sections of the now obsolete, LS-206 (Payment of Compensation Without Award)

Noteworthy changes made to the Longshore mandatory form LS-208 include:

  • Form LS-208 has been renamed from Notice of Final Payment or Suspension of Compensation Payments to “Notice of Payments”
  • Incorporating relevant sections of the now obsolete Longshore Form LS-206
  • Reorganizing the report of payments made on account of permanent disability  
  • Modifying the report of payments to allow up two (2) separate disability types
  • Modifying the new LS-208 to report initial, interim and final payments of compensation.

Industry Notice 165 is available on the Office of Workers’ Compensation (OWCP), Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation (DLHWC) website,  and details the specific changes made on the form LS-208 (Notice of Payments).

Photo by JAXPORT on / CC BY-NC

Boeing Unveils New Cargo Air Vehicle Prototype

The Boeing Company announced the unveiling of a new cargo air vehicle prototype.

In less than three months, a Boeing team designed and built an unmanned cargo air vehicle prototype. Researchers are using it as a test bed to mature the technological building blocks of safe, autonomous flight.

It stands four feet off the ground and measures 15 by 18 feet. Powered by an environmentally-friendly electric propulsion system, it is outfitted with custom Boeing batteries and eight counter-rotating propeller blades for vertical flight.

Designed to carry up to 500 pounds, the prototype will open up new possibilities for future aerospace vehicles used to transport cargo and other potential logistics applications.

Did you catch the big reveal? Watch it fly:



Bureau of Labor Statistics Shows Increase in Workplace Fatalities in 2016

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the “NATIONAL CENSUS OF FATAL OCCUPATIONAL INJURIES IN 2016” on December 19, 2017. 

There were a total of 5,190 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States in 2016, a 7-percent increase from the 4,836 fatal injuries reported in 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This is the third consecutive increase in annual workplace fatalities and the first time more than 5,000 fatalities have been recorded by the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) since 2008. The fatal injury rate increased to 3.6 per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers from 3.4 in 2015, the highest rate since 2010. 

Work injuries involving transportation incidents remained the most common fatal event in 2016, accounting for 40 percent (2,083). Violence and other injuries by persons or animals increased 23 percent to become the second-most common fatal event in 2016. Two other events with large changes were exposure to harmful substances or environments, which rose 22 percent, and fires and explosions, which declined 27 percent.

  • Fatal work injuries involving violence and other injuries by persons or animals increased by 163 cases to 866 in 2016. Workplace homicides increased by 83 cases to 500 in 2016, and workplace suicides increased by 62 to 291. This is the highest homicide figure since 2010 and the most suicides since CFOI began reporting data in 1992.
  • Fatal work injuries from falls, slips, or trips continued a general upward trend that began in 2011, increasing 6 percent to 849 in 2016 and 25 percent overall since 2011. Falls increased more than 25 percent in 2016 for roofers, carpenters, tree trimmers and pruners, and heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers.
  • Overdoses from the non-medical use of drugs or alcohol while on the job increased from 165 in 2015 to 217 in 2016, a 32-percent increase. Overdose fatalities have increased by at least 25 percent annually since 2012.

The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), part of the BLS Occupational Safety and Health Statistics (OSHS) program, compiles a count of all fatal work injuries occurring in the U.S. during the calendar year. The CFOI program uses diverse state, federal, and independent data sources to identify, verify, and describe fatal work injuries. This ensures counts are as complete and accurate as possible. For the 2016 data, over 23,300 unique source documents were reviewed as part of the data collection process. 

Read the full report and view interactive charts of the underlying data for more detailed information.


Photo by ATOMIC Hot Links on / CC BY-NC-ND

Smithsonian: For People Living with Disabilities, New Products Prove Both Practical and Stylish

When buying a pair of shoes, a pen, or a new car—the expectation is for the product to do the job. But you also want it to look good: stylish, current, cool. Why wouldn’t the same be true of products—wheelchairs, hearing aids, and more—designed to aid those with disabilities?

This is one of the major questions explored in the new exhibition “Access+Ability,” on view at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum through September 3 of this year. The show, which features more than 70 works, from an aerodynamic racing wheelchair to a vibration-activated shirt that allows the deaf to experience sounds, covers the wide range of innovations occurring in accessible design. It reflects how designers creating products for those with disabilities are making them not just increasingly functional and practical, but stylish.

“Why not be able to change the color of your prosthetic leg to match your style, your taste, your outfit?” asks Cara McCarty, director of curatorial at Cooper Hewitt, who co-curated the exhibition with Rochelle Steiner, curator and professor of Critical Studies at the University of Southern California. “You can dress it up, dress it down.”  

McCarty is referring to a set of prosthetic leg covers designed and manufactured by McCauley Wanner and Ryan Palibroda for ALLELES Design Studio, which come in a number of patterns and colors, allowing the user the kind of choice they would get if shopping for any other item of apparel.

“Just like people add tattoos to their limbs, life-enhancing products can be yours, you can add your identity to it,” says McCarty.

From increasingly versatile canes and customized prosthetic leg covers to shirts with magnetic closures and shoes with a wrap-around zipper system, the exhibition shows how products created over the past decade are not only becoming more accessible and functional, but fashionable. Through the integration of groundbreaking assistive technologies, 3-D printing and haptic feedback, new design solutions are also extending sensory perception, providing new ways to navigate and negotiate the environment, and promoting greater access to sports and recreation. – Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum Press Release

Read the rest of the article: “Smithsonian – For People Living with Disabilities, New Products Prove Both Practical and Stylish”

Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12! 
Follow the Smithsonian on Twitter: @Smithsonian

Photo Credit: The Alleles Design Studio, Ltd, Victoria, BC, Canada


Back In The game Or Back To Work Too Soon?

Senator Dan Quick has introduced employee-friendly legislation

Today’s post comes from guest author Jon Rehm, from Rehm, Bennett & Moore.

Last weekend’s Big 10 Conference football championship game between Ohio State and Wisconsin contained some off-the-field controversy when former Wisconsin Badger and current Cleveland Browns player, Joe Thomas, criticized the fact that Ohio State starting quarterback J.T. Barrett was playing in the game six days after arthroscopic knee surgery.

While Barrett lead the Buckeyes to victory with 211 passing yards and 60 rushing yards, Thomas argued that college players should have the option of a second opinion when it comes to major surgeries like players do in the NFL. Thomas argued that team doctors are overly influenced by coaches who want players to return to action as soon as possible and that college players are over eager to return to the field.

A similar issue will be debated in Nebraska’s legislature next month. Senator Dan Quick of Grand Island has a bill on the floor that would require an employer to pay for a second opinion if an employee disputes a finding from a doctor paid for by the employer. Quick’s bill was inspired by his experience of being sent back to work prematurely by a doctor chosen by his employer’s workers compensation insurer.

Quick is an electrician by trade and is one of the few blue-collar workers who serves in the Nebraska Legislature. Another blue-collar worker, Lee Carter, was recently elected to the legislature in Virginia. Like Quick, Carter had a bad experience after a work injury. Carter had his hours reduced after his accident and was unable to find a lawyer because of confusion over which state had jurisdiction over his work injury.

Blue collar workers running for office may be a trend as iron worker Randy Bryce is running for Congress against House Speaker Paul Ryan and Wisconsin Firefighter’s union president Mahlon Mitchell is running for Governor of Wisconsin. I am encouraged that people like Dan Quick and Lee Carter have taken their bad experiences after work injuries and have gone into politics to directly address the problems they  faced first hand and make sure other workers will have better experiences if they get hurt on the job.

Bonney Lake, WA Construction Firm Repays Back Wages, Faces Further DLI Action, on Appeal Pending Hearings.

Nine workers received $210,000 in back pay recently for work on 10 Western Washington schools after a Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) investigation.

The company, I&C Northwest of Bonney Lake, WA, and owner Jim Lingnaw, were cited for the unpaid regular wages and overtime, and for false reporting. The company owes another $218,000 in fines and faces a prohibition from bidding on any public works projects.

Jim Christensen, Prevailing Wage Program manager for L&I, said the citations are based on I&C’s continued violations of state law after the agency educated the firm on requirements for public contracts. The agency warned Lingnaw in January 2016 about receiving fines and disbarment after L&I uncovered the same violations on five other projects. Investigations involving the company go back to at least 2014.

“This case represents examples of repeated violations of the law,” said Christensen, who has more than a decade of experience handling prevailing wage issues. “Our investigation showed I&C falsified pay documents and shorted the workers on each project – this goes beyond a simple, honest mistake.”

L&I investigated the current complaints starting in February for work done on the schools in 2015-16. The school districts involved include Bellevue, Clover Park, Mercer Island, North Thurston, Tacoma, Tumwater, Seattle, and Snoqualmie. The work covered seven elementary schools, two middle schools and a high school.

I&C paid the wages and has also has appealed the citations to the Office of Administrative Hearings. A hearing has been scheduled for March 26-April 6, 2018.

The citations represent L&I’s continued enforcement against contractors who show a pattern of avoiding requirements under the law, Christensen said. He credited the work of the agency’s industrial relations agents and the state Attorney General’s Office on the case.

The state’s prevailing wage law, triggered when construction uses public funds, covers workers on projects such as schools, roads, and buildings. L&I enforces the law, which protects employees by setting the wages for specific work. The law ensures contractors have a level playing field in bidding public projects.

Photo credit: The Olympian

WA DLI Fines Agri Aide $105,000 for Violating Conditions in Hiring Ag Workers

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) fined an Othello, WA company $105,000 for violating required conditions in hiring farm workers.

The violation issued to Agri Aide Inc. is the largest L&I fine ever against a farm labor contractor. The penalty is based on the firm’s history of repeated violations. Agri Aide did not file an appeal and made payment toward the infraction.

As a farm labor contractor, Agri Aide is one of about 250 firms across the state that hires, organizes, and transports workers to farms. Under law, contractors must provide each worker written notice about pay, housing, safety requirements, and other conditions.

“Often, these workers are happy just to have a job; they’re not looking at whether the person who got them the job has a license,” said Tisa Soeteber, agricultural employment specialist at L&I. “L&I is going after repeat offenders like Agri Aide to stop unlicensed contractors from both competing with legitimate farm labor contractors and putting workers at risk.”

Marivel and Jose Luis Brunetti, Agri Aide owners, operated the company without a farm labor contracting license in at least 2012, 2013, and 2015. Agri Aide received the maximum fines in those cases, which included forging a contractor license in 2012 and failing to tell workers about the conditions of their employment in 2015.

L&I began its investigation in May after receiving a complaint. It involved Agri Aide laborers at Williamson Farms, in Quincy, WA, transplanting chili plants.

Williamson Farms hadn’t checked the Agri Aide license since 2006. The farm told L&I it would no longer work with any unlicensed contractor.

Soeteber said farmers should check annually for the license of their farm labor contractor. She said the Farm Labor Contractor Act protects workers’ rights and limits the liability a farmer may face for using an unlicensed firm.

Information about farm labor contracting is available by emailing, calling 1-866-219-7321, or going online to and typing “Farm Labor Contractors” in the search box.

Photo credit: WA DLI, via Twitter