Fines levied in death of worker at Swedish/Edmonds hospital

EDMONDS — Two contractors have been fined a total of $56,350 for alleged safety violations in the death of a worker at Swedish/Edmonds hospital in August.

The state Department of Labor &Industries on Monday made public its report on the death of 38-year-old Jason E. Vanlandingham.

Vanlandingham, of Pierce County, was electrocuted Aug. 20 while working in a ditch as part of the hospital’s expansion project.

Edmonds police also investigated. Their case was closed late last year when it was determined that no crime had occurred, Sgt. Mark Marsh said.

The L&I report involves Hos Brothers Construction of Woodinville, fined $50,500, and Sellen Construction, of Seattle, fined $5,850.

Hos Brothers Safety Director Kate Wicks on Monday said the company “vehemently disagrees with the citations.”

“Since there is a formal appeal process, we have been advised to refrain from public comment regarding the basis for our appeal, but we would like to again express our condolences and support to the family of the deceased, Mr. Jason Vanlandingham,” she said in a prepared statement.

Hos Brothers was fined for two reported willful violations and has been identified as a “severe violator” for workplace safety. That means additional inspections will continue “at a heightened level until the (state) is satisfied that the conditions no longer exist.”

Hos Brothers failed to make sure that underground power lines were located and turned off before allowing workers into the area, the state found.

Vanlandingham died when the jackhammer he was operating came into contact with the buried power lines.

That violation carried a $45,500 fine. Hos Brothers’ second violation, for $5,000, was for allegedly violating the state’s right to privately question those involved. The company hired a lawyer to represent employees, according to the report.

Sellen Construction, the general contractor, was cited for one serious violation related to the working environment it supervised for Hos Brothers employees. That also involved a lack of monitoring of live underground power lines.

Sellen did not immediately return calls on Monday. The two companies have until mid-March to appeal.

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