Worker Deaths “Eerily Similar”

Binion here:

The death of a road construction worker Thursday is “eerily similar” to the death of Bremerton city employee Dean Westcott last August, said Bremerton Public Works Director Phil Williams.

Ricky C. Schaaf, 53, of Graham died while working on the Highway 304 improvement project Thursday afternoon when a water tanker truck backed into him. He was declared dead at the scene. He was an employee of Ceccanti, Inc., a contractor the city had signed to work on the city’s gateway project.

Westcott, 58, of Lake Symington, was killed Aug. 22 in what has been ruled an accident.

Both men were killed when a vehicle backed into them.

Williams called it “eerily similar.”

“All of us in the city family can really feel for what Ceccanti, Inc. going through,” Williams said.

The project Schaaf was working on started last summer and is due to finish by the end of this year, Williams said.

The irony, he said, is that it is a safety project, meant to reduce the outlets for side traffic on the road.

“That’s really what drove the project,” Williams said.

Washington has an average of about 87 deaths a year, according to this research abstract.

In Kitsap County in 2007 there were three workplace deaths, including Westcott.

On April 30, 2007 an apprentice lineman was electrocuted, and on Aug. 28, 2007 – six days after Westcott died – a man was killed when he fell 30 feet down a dumbwaiter shaft, according to state Department of Labor and Industries statistics.

There were no workplace deaths in Kitsap in 2006.

One thought on “Worker Deaths “Eerily Similar”

  1. Andrew,

    According to that research abstract, “These data indicate numerous areas for prevention of work-related traumatic injuries and fatalities.”

    That was for 1998-2002.

    This is 2008. So how many deaths in 2007? Does the data show those numerous areas for prevention have been addressed?

    Why not place “DANGER – do not stand behind this vehicle within 50 feet.” sign on the backside of these vehicles?

    I see those two men are not the first ones to be killed by a truck being backed up by a driver who can’t or doesn’t see through his truck’s backside?

    I see there is not enough safety training being done.

    How many more are to be killed?

    Right. The answer is blowing in the wind.

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