Widow sues fall protection manufacturer following husband’s death on Sound Transit project

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
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Just months away from retirement, Walter Burrows was working on Sound Transit’s light rail line to Redmond, Wash., attempting to secure a beam. Burrows lost his balance and fell 35 ft to his death. Now his wife, Grace Burrows, is suing 3M, the manufacturer of the fall protection device Walter Burrows was wearing that day in 2018.

The fall protection device in question is the Nano-Lok Self-Retracting Lifeline. The lawyer representing Grace Burrows, Timothy Acker, claims a strap on the fall protection device severed when it came in contact with a beveled concrete edge on the jobsite. Acker believes when Walter Burrows fell he came to a stop and that is when the device moved across the beveled concrete edge a few times before it ripped.

The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries has fined Kiewit-Hoffman East Link Constructors $11,200. Walter Burrows was working for Kiewit-Hoffman when he died. Washington State cited a warning on the device that sharp edges must be avoided or covered. Kiewit-Hoffman also was accused of failing to follow its own site safety and security plan. The plan says self-detracting devices rated for leading edges are required, and those edges needed to be protected.

3M claims the fall protection device came with enough warnings and safety measures, and denies any wrongdoing.

The lawsuit is expected to be presented in federal court in early 2021.

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Categories: Commuter/Regional, Passenger, Rail News, Railroad News, Safety/Training
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