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crane-collapse-seattle-300x169A construction crane collapsed from the roof of a building on Saturday afternoon tragically killing four people and injuring four others. Two of the people killed were ironworkers and two others were bystanders. The crane was positioned on the new Google Seattle campus and was in the process of being dismantled when it fell.

The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries is investigating five companies involved in the accident: Seaburg Construction Corp., GLY Construction, Northwest Tower Crane Service Inc., Omega Rigging and Machinery Moving Inc., and Morrow Equipment Co. LLC. The Department of Labor and Industries spokesman said that it is too early to speculate on the cause of the accident and the investigation could take up to six months and would including interviewing workers and accessing company records among other investigation.

According to an article by CNN, after a construction company is finished using a crane, disassembly can take between two and three days. The disassembly process requires taking the crane apart piece by piece. The article suggested that construction workers could have prematurely removed or loosened the pins connecting the crane all at once instead of in sections. Workers sometimes do this in order to save time during dismantling. But if pins are removed prematurely, portions of the crane become unsecure and unstable. At the time of the accident, relatively minor wind gusts between 18 and 23 mph were reported in the area and could have contributed to the collapse.

social-image-logo-og-300x300A fun day out on the water could turn into a fatal accident, if the mast of your sailboat comes into contact with a low electrical line. In order to keep the public safe, the National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) publishes clearance requirements for electrical lines that hang over bodies of water.

The NESC clearance requirements are different depending on whether or not the waterway is suitable for sailboating. Additionally, the NESC publishes separate clearance requirements for areas that are posted for rigging or launching sailboats. Where the body of the water is not suitable for sailing or where sailing is prohibited, the minimum clearance for electrical lines is always 17 feet.

In waterways suitable for sailing, the NESC clearance requirement changes depending on the surface area of the body of water. The larger the body of water, the higher the required clearance. Below are the NESC clearances for waterways suitable for sailing:

Seattle-utility-pole-crash-300x173On Friday April 5th, 26 utility poles fell on East Marginal Way in South Tukwila around 3:50pm. One Seattle couple is thankful to survive after one of the poles smashed through the windshield of their car trapping them inside. Luckily, the couple, Tom and Linda Cook, only suffered minor cuts and bruises.

According to an article by the Seattle Times, Tom Cook attempted to exit his car when a bystander shouted out for him to stop because of the live electrical wires that were strewn across the road. This advice may have saved Tom Cook’s life. Even if he did not directly touch a live wire, the ground around the wire may have been energized up to thirty-five feet. Instead of leaving his car and risking electrocution, Tom Cook and his wife waited for over an hour while emergency crews turned off the power and safely extracted them from their car.

Seattle City Light does not know what caused the poles to fall. Often power lines are brought down either to do a sudden event, like a lightning strike or strong gust of wind, or deterioration of the pole over time. Here, the weather does not appear to have caused the incident. According to the National Weather Service in Seattle, there were no lightning strikes hitting the poles. There were gusts of wind between 20 and 30 mph that day, but nothing out of the ordinary for the area. It is possible that deterioration played a role. The Puget Sound is classified as a “high deterioration zone” by the American Wood Pole Council due to the coastal climate. an electrical system does not have a fault protection system and proper grounding in place, electrical faults pose a substantial risk of injury. An electrical fault occurs when there is an abnormal electrical current, such as an over current, under voltage, unbalance of the phases, reversed power, and high voltage surge. A fault can be very dangerous and destructive causing fire, explosion, or electrical shock to persons nearby. These dangers to people are in addition to the damage faults may cause to the electrical system itself.

Electrical faults may be caused over time by a deterioration of the insulation protecting the electrical equipment. Additionally, electrical faults may also be caused by a sudden storm, vehicle collision, or aircraft collision. Finally, electrical faults can occur during switching surges when there is a sudden interruption in the circuit.

A protection device can eliminate the dangers that are associated with electrical faults. Fault protection systems detect fault conditions and remove the voltage on conductors, if there is an unwanted connection. Common protection devices include a circuit breaker or a fuse.

Scene-Photos-102-199x300Driving under the influence of marijuana is dangerous and potentially deadly. According to the 2018 Washington Traffic Safety Commission survey, “Marijuana Use, Alcohol Use, and Driving in Washington State,” driver impairment due to alcohol and/or drugs is the number one contributing factor in Washington State fatal crashes. Marijuana is second only behind alcohol to appear in drivers involved in accidents, and the number of drivers under the influence of marijuana is increasing each year. Many of these accidents occur on the busy Interstate 5, Interstate 90, and Interstate 405. According to the results of the Washington State Roadside Survey, nearly one in five daytime drivers may be under the influence of marijuana. This statistic is up from less than one in 10 drivers prior to the implementation of marijuana retail sales in Washington State in 2014.

The risk of impaired driving with alcohol in combination with marijuana is greater than the risk of driving under the influence of either substance by itself. From 2008–2016, 44 percent of fatal crashes involving drivers testing positive for substances were drivers that tested positive for both alcohol and one or more other drugs. The most common drug drivers combined with alcohol was marijuana. Deaths involving drivers with multiple substances in their systems have been increasing at a rate of about 15 percent per year since 2012.

Like driving under the influence of alcohol, driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal. Initiative 502, which legalized the recreational use of marijuana, included the establishment of a blood per se DUI level of 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood. THC is the active ingredient in marijuana.

Construction workers in road/highway work zones are at a significant risk of fatal and nonfatal injury. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, in 2017, 132 construction workers died in work zone related accidents in the Unites States. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that in 2016 there were 158,000 non-fatal work zone injuries in the Unites States.

Construction workers are at an equal risk of injury and death both from passing motorists and from construction vehicles and equipment operating within the road/highway work zone. Furthermore, workers operating construction equipment in work zones are also at a risk of injury and death from the overturn of equipment, equipment collisions, or being caught in between equipment.

Both construction workers and passing motorists can take steps to ensure construction worker safety in road/highway work zones. Construction workers can take the following measures to reduce their risk of injury or death: 1) Use temporary traffic control devices and communicate clearly with motorists; 2) Illuminate the work zone during evening and night hours; 3) Wear high-visibility and reflective apparel to increase worker visibility; 4) Participate in safety training in order to be aware of common hazards and prevention measures.

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On November 12, Trina Morgan was killed as she attempted to assist a 9-year-old child who was injured in a motor vehicle collision on State Route 530 near Arlington, Washington.  According to the Washington State Patrol, Ms. Morgan was hit by another driver as she attempted to offer assistance to the injured child.  The driver that struck her was later processed by the Washington State Patrol on suspicion of driving under the influence.  Trina Morgan was pronounced dead at the scene by authorities due to her significant injuries.  The young girl was transported to the hospital for medical treatment for her injuries.

Our hearts go out to Trina Morgan’s family for her untimely death while trying to assist an injured child.  She is a true hero and an unnecessary death.  We all need to do more to prevent and report drunk drivers operating on our highways and roads.  If you see a driver that appears to be impaired, report it to 9-1-1 immediately.  Do not let friends or family drive if they are impaired.

Drunk driver is a major problem in the state of Washington.  Just in the last year, police agencies in the state of Washington have made over 24,000 arrests for driving under the influence on Washington’s highways and roads.  Impaired driving is a leading factor in motor vehicle accidents and deaths.  Last year, there were 146 deaths in motor vehicle collisions caused by drunk driving.

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