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Important crane safety updates signed into law

OLYMPIA—Five years after tragedy Washington finally has important safety updates for construction cranes as Gov. Jay Inslee signed HB 2022 into law.  

Sponsored by Rep. Julia Reed (D-36), the legislation is in response to the 2019 crane collapse in South Lake Union that claimed the lives of college student Sarah Pantip Wong, retired public servant Alan Justad, and Ironworkers Andrew Yoder and Travis Corbet. It focuses on three key areas… 

  1. Designating a safety zone during the critical phases of assembly, disassembly, and reconfiguration. This space safeguards the public and workers in the vicinity during this process.  
  2. Establishing a permit process for tower crane operations which ensures that companies meet strict safety criteria.  
  3. Defining criminal penalties for companies found in violation of safety regulations. This increases the level of accountability for bad actors, ensuring that if they do not follow the law they will face more than a simple fine.   

The legislation was crafted closely with seatmate Sen. Noel Frame (D-36), Sarah’s parents, Andrea Wang and Henry Wong, the Department of Labor and Industries, labor unions, and other stakeholders.  

“Enacting sensible tower crane safety guidelines that aim to prevent catastrophic incidents like the one that killed our daughter, Sarah Pantip Wong, and three others in 2019 has been a long time coming,” said Andrea Wang and Henry Wong, parents of Sarah, in a joint statement. “We are grateful this day has come, and we want to thank Sen. Noel Frame and Rep. Julia Reed for their tireless efforts to get this legislation passed, bill co-sponsors and the Legislature for their support, and Gov. Jay Inslee for signing this important life-saving bill.” 

“As our state looks towards the future, we’re going to continue to have largescale construction projects that use this equipment,” said Rep. Reed. “This doesn’t mean we should sacrifice our safety and peace of mind. This legislation will save lives.”  

“We’ve got to be able to prevent tragedies like this from ever happening again. This legislation will create a safer environment for everyone while still allowing Washington’s cities to build, thrive and grow,” said Sen. Frame.