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Seattle Hotel Fined for Exposing Construction Workers to Asbestos

Jan. 23, 2018
Seattle Pacific Hotel fined $355,000 for putting hotel construction workers at risk.

“Unconscionable” is how one safety administrator described a long string of asbestos violations at a Seattle hotel. The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) determined that the owner of the Seattle Pacific Hotel willfully exposed construction workers on multiple occasions to asbestos hazards.

The owner, identified as Raj Nariya, was found to have knowingly exposed untrained workers to asbestos during a renovation of the hotel lobby. Following an investigation of the work site, L&I discovered that these workers were neither trained nor certified to safely perform the removal of asbestos. More to the point, the owner had apparently been informed by a certified asbestos-abatement contractor about the presence of asbestos in the ceiling, but instead of using that contractor, he opted instead to hire untrained workers unfamiliar with the dangers of asbestos.

As a result, the L&I cited the hotel for a dozen willful violations during the hotel remodeling, and fined the owner $355,000 for exposing workers to asbestos. The violations included:

  • failing to provide respiratory protection; leaving asbestos;
  • leaving asbestos debris on site;
  • not taking a pre-removal air sample before removing the asbestos materials.

“It’s unconscionable that anyone would knowingly expose untrained and unprotected workers to asbestos,” says Anne Soiza, L&I’s assistant director for the Division of Occupational Safety and Health. “It’s an extremely hazardous material that’s notorious for causing cancer and other serious health issues.”

The owner has 15 days to appeal the citation.

About the Author

Dave Blanchard | Editor-in-Chief / Senior Director of Content

During his career Dave Blanchard has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeek, EHS Today, Material Handling & Logistics, Logistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. Prior to joining Endeavor/Informa/Penton, he spent a decade covering the artificial intelligence industry. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University. 

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