Follow us:

The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

June 7, 2012 at 11:06 AM

Five managers suspended for allowing alcohol use at 520 bridge office

Five senior staffers will be suspended without pay for allowing beer to be consumed in an administrative office of the Highway 520 floating bridge project, contracting company Kiewit announced this  morning.

The suspensions are “more than one day,” said Tom Janssen, spokesman for the Omaha-based company, which is partnering at four worksites to build bridge columns, pontoons, anchors and road decks.  Two senior project managers, a senior vice president, and two employees of partner Manson Construction Co. will lose pay.  Lower-ranking office employees who possessed or consumed alcohol will receive “letters of counseling,” and approximately 55 employees in the Bellevue office will attend training sessions with one or more expert speakers.

Hundreds of others, including workers building the pontoons at Grays Harbor, are being reminded about the company’s no-alcohol policy, Janssen said.  State and company officials say there is no evidence of alcohol use in construction zones.

Janssen didn’t use the word deterrent, but the high-level suspensions seem intended to prevent a lax attitude from spreading into safety-critical portions of the bridge replacement. “We want to make sure the citizens of Washington know they can be confident in the quality and safety of this important project,” the statement concludes.

Kiewit’s investigation found that alcohol was usually bought with personal money, but a few times with company funds for special events. Drinking usually happened after work, but some had beer during “end of day office administrative tasks” such as returning e-mails or filing time cards, the firm said.

The inquiries were sparked by a report by KOMO television news, using hidden-camera footage, that showed employees drinking beer in the office.

The state Department of Labor and Industries is investigating, and commentary by the state Department of Transportation can be found here.

 

Comments | Topics: construction, Highway 520 Bridge, Kiewit

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►