ROADS/BRIDGES: Workers’ comp claims rise to nearly $1 million for Seattle Viaduct Project

The number of workers' compensation claims is growing at the massive Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement project. 

March 13, 2015

At least 117 workers have been injured working on the Alaskan Way Viaduct project in downtown Seattle since work began in 2012.  At the end of 2014, worker compensation claims hit nearly $1 million, according to data collected by the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health. The report did not include claim reports for the end of 2014 or the beginning of 2015,  meaning the amount will most likely rise once that data is collected.

Eleven workers filed claims for injuries in 2012 and 42 filed in 2013. Claims jumped to 63 in 2014, according to the state safety agency.

Injury claims by construction workers have included a worker whose hand was crushed by the tunnel-boring machine’s cutting tool, others have suffered chemical burns and one worker reported a severely injured knee.

Dallas Delay of the Seattle/King County Building and Construction Trades Council said in an emailed statement that the tunnel contractor only started safety meetings with workers' groups in January 2014 and Seattle Tunnel Partners "does not have a culture of safety" and that the contractor looks "to discipline instead of fixing the hazards."

"We will not tolerate putting our members, nor any others on the project site, at risk," Delay said in the statement.

The project contractor, Seattle Tunnel Partners, said in a statement: "Our safety program focuses on creating safe work conditions and eliminating unsafe work practices and at-risk work behaviors."