Washington State officials proposed penalties related to a death on a light rail project in Seattle last winter.

The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries levied $29,000 in fines against Obayashi Corp. following the investigation of a fatal accident on February 7 at the Sound Transit project in Seattle.

The victim was riding the locomotive of a train loaded with concrete tunnel-liner segments and other equipment as it headed down a slight grade toward the tunnel's west portal. The train didn't stop, striking another parked locomotive.

In a letter sent Aug. 3, state officials cited Obayashi for four "serious" violations for $6,500 each and one for $3,000, including failure to properly train workers, poor emergency procedures and poor site clean-up. The company was also cited for failure to inspect the locomotive prior to each shift and failure to secure loads.

Sound Transit shut down the tunneling portion of the project for about six weeks following the accident, to complete its own investigation, says a spokesman. Four of the five violations were corrected at the time of the fatality. "L&I found Sound Transit was not responsible for the accident," the spokesman adds.

Obayashi Corp. officials could not be reached for comment. The company has until August 18, 2007 to pay the fine or appeal the citation.

Obayashi is in charge of building a tunnel for the system, which will provide a 14-mile light rail line from downtown Seattle to Sea-Tac International Airport.