Contractor Fined for Exposing Workers to Asbestos

July 21, 2004
The Washington Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) says that not only did Phalon Abatement Services Inc. expose workers to health hazards from asbestos, but a supervisor for the company lied to on-site inspectors about it.

L&I fined the Spokane asbestos removal contractor $144,000 for seven willful violations of the rules that protect workers from asbestos exposure. The violations occurred in January at a work site in Moses Lake, where the employees were removing asbestos construction materials from a building.

The violations were related to air monitoring and air quality; safe handling and disposal of asbestos products and debris; use of personal protective equipment; and establishment of a decontamination area for employees.

The employer was cited for willful violations because at the time of the inspection, the supervisor claimed no asbestos work was being done while another employee remained out of sight in a boiler room. According to the supervisor, the boiler room was locked and she did not have a key. The inspectors left the worksite and returned minutes later to find the two employees removing asbestos insulation from the boiler room.

Willful violations are issued when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from an existing condition and the department finds the employer knowingly or intentionally violated the rules or knew that a violation was occurring and was plainly indifferent to correcting it.

Asbestos is a widely used mineral-based material that is resistant to fire and corrosives and is linked to significant health hazards such lung diseases and several forms of cancer.

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

Sponsored Recommendations

Free Webinar: ISO 45001 – A Commitment to Occupational Health, Safety & Personal Wellness

May 30, 2024
Secure a safer and more productive workplace using proven Management Systems ISO 45001 and ISO 45003.

ISO 45003 – Psychological Health and Safety at Work

May 30, 2024
ISO 45003 offers a comprehensive framework to expand your existing occupational health and safety program, helping you mitigate psychosocial risks and promote overall employee...

DH Pace, national door and dock provider, reduces TRIR and claims with EHS solution

May 29, 2024
Find out how DH Pace moved from paper/email/excel to an EHS platform, changing their culture. They reduced TRIR from 4.8 to 1.46 and improved their ability to bid on and win contracts...

Case Study: Improve TRIR from 4+ to 1 with EHS Solution and Safety Training

May 29, 2024
Safety training and EHS solutions improve TRIR for Complete Mechanical Services, leading to increased business. Moving incidents, training, and other EHS procedures into the digital...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of EHS Today, create an account today!