The Washington Department of Labor had already been out to the Belltown construction site twice by the time Aaron Adair showed up on the job in early January. It was his first day of work at 101 Taylor Ave. Sadly, it would also be his last.
‘He Was the Life of the Party’
Adair, a welder from Anacortes, was 31 years old. He was engaged to be married in June.
While he was known for being a jovial guy in his social life — “the life of the party” — he had just as strong a reputation for being careful in his dangerous profession. His younger brother, Brady Adair, spoke of his skill admiringly, before describing the family’s shock when they got the call about Aaron Adair’s death.
“I just thought in my mind never him, never him. He’s too careful.”
Adair’s father, Dave, spoke on behalf of the grieving family, including Adair’s fiancee, Amanda, saying “We’ll get through it, but it’s going to be really hard.”
‘Never Seen Something Like That’
Adair’s coworker, David Widmer, concurs with the family that described the tragedy as being a freak accident. Attesting to Adair’s skill and his careful nature, Widmer told a local TV station that Adair unclipped his safety harness as he moved from one part of the 50-foot scaffolding to another.
“He must have unhooked to get to the other side,” said Widmer, “and when he did he tripped over the welder and when he tripped, he fell.”
Widmer added that in 31 years of construction work, he’d “never seen something like that.”
Multiple Inspections, But No Violations
The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries had been to the Taylor Avenue site twice in the previous year. The first time was in March, to inspect a concrete form that collapsed during pouring. That incident caused no injuries, and no safety violations were found by inspectors.
But last November, the department returned to the site to investigate a complaint against its “fall protection.” OSHA requires construction sites to have fall protection systems (such as harnesses), and inspectors routinely make sure that the systems are properly installed and that employees are being adequately trained and supervised in using them.
No safety violations were found during the inspection in November.
However, only two days after Adair’s death, another construction worker was transported from the same site to Harborview Medical Center with a head injury. Authorities reported that it wasn’t clear what had caused the injury.
SRM Development LLC, the developer of the Taylor Avenue project, made a statement the Monday following Adair’s death:
“We are working closely with governmental authorities and investigators to help gain a clear understanding of the events that led up to this tragic incident. Today is a sad day for our company.”
The tragedy’s impact was stated much more poignantly by Brady Adair, the victim’s brother:
“I was looking forward to planning a wedding and being a best man and giving a speech. But now I’m planning a memorial.”
When You Need It, Help is There
For families like the Adairs facing tragedy after a workplace accident, it doesn’t really matter at the moment whether it occurred from workplace negligence or just a freak accident. However, finding out the liability is an essential part of the long-term recovery process from tragedy, both in bringing closure and in getting families the resources they need to move forward.
If you or a loved one have been the victim of a construction accident or other workplace accident, call the Perey Law Firm for a no-cost consultation. We can’t lessen the impact of tragedy in your life, but we can be available to make sure you receive justice.
Contact us today by calling 206-443-7600 or by filling out the form on the right-hand side of this page.