Fatal falls continue to plague Snohomish County work sites

LYNNWOOD — Two more workers have lost their lives after falls in Snohomish County.

Al Speed, 61, died Wednesday from injuries sustained in an earlier fall while working for the Snohomish County Public Utility District, officials have confirmed.

In addition, a Bothell construction company now is facing a steep fine for alleged safety violations in connection with a worker’s death earlier this year.

James Geil, 53, of Kent, fell to his death Feb. 29 from the roof of a house in Lynnwood. He tumbled about 18 feet and had no fall protection system, records show.

The state Department of Labor and Industries conducted an investigation and found 10 alleged violations by the company, seven of which were deemed serious violations.

Terry Walker Construction Inc. has until June 6 to appeal the $20,500 fine. The alleged violations included not providing adequate fall protection and not requiring hard hats, though the company says it had hard hats on site.

The company owns fall-protection gear and crews had talked about fall safety earlier that day, owner Terry Walker said Thursday.

Geil was an independent contractor. However, the state considers him an employee under the circumstances, Walker said. The two had worked together on and off for 15 years.

“He was a friend of mine,” Walker said. “He was more than just a worker.”

After a state inspection that followed Geil’s death, nearly every violation was corrected within a day, Walker said. The fatal fall was his company’s first serious workplace injury in 26 years of running a small business, he said.

Falls are the leading cause of work-related deaths in Snohomish County and the state. Three construction workers have died from falls in the state so far this year, said Elaine Fischer, an L&I spokeswoman.

Falls occur in other industries too. On Sunday, Speed fell while working at the PUD warehouse, in a job he’d held for 37 years, agency spokesman Neil Neroutsos said.

The PUD and the state are investigating.

“The only thing we know is that he fell off of an upper level onto the ground floor,” Neroutsos said.

Speed was taken to Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center. He died on Wednesday, hospital officials said.

Speed’s co-workers are thinking of his family, Neroutsos said.

“It really shakes the organization when something like this happens. It is a tough week for everybody,” he said.

Reporter Scott North contributed to this story.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Members of South County Fire practice onboarding and offboarding a hovering Huey helicopter during an interagency disaster response training exercise at Arlington Municipal Airport on Tuesday, June 6, 2023, in Arlington, Washington. The crews learned about and practiced safe entry and exit protocols with crew from Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue before begin given a chance to do a live training. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Snohomish, King counties train together for region’s next disaster

Dozens of agencies worked with aviators Tuesday to coordinate a response to a simulated earthquake or tsunami.

Police stand along Linden Street next to orange cones marking pullet casings in a crime scene of a police involved shooting on Friday, May 19, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Lake Stevens man identified in Everett manhunt, deadly police shooting

Travis Hammons, 34, was killed by officers following a search for an armed wanted man in a north Everett neighborhood.

Ciscoe Morris, a longtime horticulturist and gardening expert, will speak at Sorticulture. (Photo provided by Sorticulture)
Get your Sorticulture on: Garden festival returns to downtown Everett

It’s a chance to shop, dance, get gardening tips, throw an axe and look through a big kaleidoscope. Admission is free.

Funko mascots Freddy Funko roll past on a conveyor belt in the Pop! Factory of the company's new flagship store on Aug. 18, 2017.  (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Lawsuit: Funko misled investors about Arizona move

A shareholder claims Funko’s decision to relocate its distribution center from Everett to Arizona was “disastrous.”

1 stabbed at apartment in Lynnwood

The man, 26, was taken to an Everett hospital with “serious injuries.”

A firefighting helicopter carries a bucket of water from a nearby river to the Bolt Creek Fire on Saturday, Sep. 10, 2022, on U.S. Highway 2 near Index, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Red flag fire warning issued west of Cascades

There are “critical fire weather” conditions due to humidity and wind in the Cascades, according to the National Weather Service.

A house fire damaged two homes around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 6, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Photo provided by Marysville Fire District)
Fire burns 2 homes in Marysville, killing 2 dogs

Firefighters responded to a report of a fire north of Lakewood Crossing early Tuesday, finding two houses engulfed in flames.

Dolly Hunnicutt holds onto a metal raccoon cutout while looking through metal wildflowers at the Freeborn Metal Art booth during the first day of Sorticulture on Friday, June 9, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Sorticulture brings gardening galore, fun by the bushel at 130 booths

“Every year there’s something different to see,” one attendee said at the opening of the three-day festival in downtown Everett.

Alex Dold lived with his mother and grandmother, Ruby Virtue, near Echo Lake. His sisters, Vanessa and Jen Dold, often would visit to play board games and watch soccer on television.
Troubled deputies at center of $1.5M settlement in Maltby man’s death

In 2017, Bryson McGee and Cody McCoy killed Alex Dold with their Tasers. Neither of them work for the sheriff’s office anymore.

Most Read