[Update Jan. 8, 2018, below]
Harold Felton, 36, suffered fatal traumatic injuries on Tuesday, January 26 while working at a sewer repair project in a West Seattle neighborhood. Mr. Felton’s employer was Alki Construction.
- Mr. Felton was working inside a 10-foot deep trench which was situated between two homes.
- “…the walls of the trench gave way and buried the man under several feet of soil.”
- “For about 20 minutes, it was a rescue operation, but it became clear the man wouldn’t make it.”
Using OSHA’s on-line database, it does not appear that the Washington State OSHA program has conducted any inspections involving Alki Construction, at least since 2000.
The AFL-CIO’s annual Death on the Job report notes:
- The Washington State OSHA program has 110 inspectors to cover more than 175,000 workplaces. With that number of inspectors, it would take 49 years for them to inspect each workplace in the State just once.
- The average penalty for a serious violation in Washington State is $896.
- The median penalty amount for a work-related fatality occurring in Washington State is $2,250.
Washington State OSHA has until the end of July 2016 to issue any citations and penalties related to the incident that stole Harold Felton’s life. It’s likely they’ll determine that his death was preventable. It was no “accident.”
Update: The King County, Washington prosecutor filed manslaughter charges on January 5, 2018 against Phillip Numrich, the owner of Alki Construction, for the fatal injuries that killed Harold Felton. Washington’s Department of Labor & Industries director, Joel Sacks said,
“A workplace death affects families forever. When workplace safety and health laws are followed on the job, nearly every incident like this can be prevented. When they’re ignored, the results are often disastrous and irreversible.”