Being a Tacoma personal injury lawyer and working with Washington construction injury cases I have come to realize that working in construction is an extremely dangerous job. With hanging from extreme heights, working around cranes and other dangerous tools and working in hazardous locations such as bridges and sky-scrapers it is easy to see why construction workers have a lot of safety regulations. These safety regulations which are enforced by government agencies also provide a way for L&I to decide whether or not a company is responsible for a workers injuries.
A 37-year-old Coluccio Construction worker was covered in raw sewage after falling down into the sewer in University Place, Washington. The man was performing some work on the sewer line when, for an unknown reason, he was disconnected from his safety harness and fell down the 85-foot shaft into the sewage water below.
The worker was taken close to ¾ of a mile downstream in the sewage when he finally stopped after become trapped in a 4-foot-sewage pipe. 15,000 gallons of raw sewage flooded around him and he had only 18 inches of breathing space.
Workers with the Pierce County Public Utilities heard the man’s screams from the sewer. After 30 minutes stuck in sewage the worker was able to squeeze into a bend in the sewage line where crews were successful in pulling him from the sewage pipe.
The man suffered a broken tooth and split lip, but perhaps the worse injury he had was to his sense of smell as he was covered in the sewage water. It is extremely lucky that the man did not suffer a concussion or drown in the sewage water as he fell quite a distance and was tossed a long way down stream.
L&I is currently investigating the construction site accident to find out why the worker unhooked his harness.