A formwork collapse at a casino hotel project outside of Spokane, Washington, that resulted in the death of 27-year-old journeyman carpenter is under investigation by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries and OSHA.
The Airway Heights police and fire departments were notified and responded to the work-related accident at 9:35 a.m. on March 7 at the under-construction casino hotel in the Airway Heights suburb about 10 miles west of Spokane.
"Emergency services were immediately called to the scene and the area was secured," Swinerton Builders, the contractor on the project, wrote in a statement about the accident. "Unfortunately, the efforts of medical personnel were unsuccessful. There were no other workers involved or injured in the incident."
Ana Vetter, a Carpenters Local Union 59 journeyman carpenter, was working as a subcontractor on the project to construct a hotel next to the Spokane Tribe Casino, according to the Spokane Tradeswomen union. The casino opened in 2018, but ongoing expansions since that time have continued to grow the property's footprint. The five-story 300-room hotel is scheduled for a 2023 opening, part of an effort to expand services at the site.
Swinerton says in a statement the circumstances of the situation were unclear at the time of the incident and "it is too early to speculate on what may have been the cause of this incident."
Officials with the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries confirmed they are investigating the incident. The Spokane Tribe, Airway Heights Police Department, Tribal Police as well as various state and tribal agencies are also investigating, according to casino officials. Swinerton management and safety teams are cooperating with all investigating authorities, the company said.
Spokane Tradeswomen wrote on their Facebook page that Vetter "loved her work and was proud to be a woman in construction."