L&I News

See more More news releases

June 7, 2005

Contractor fined for exposing workers to asbestos

TUMWATER — The Department of Labor & Industries has fined a Lakewood asbestos-removal contractor $106,400 for exposing workers to health hazards from asbestos during an asbestos-removal project at Foss High School in Tacoma.

The investigation did not find any evidence that Foss High School staff or students were exposed to asbestos. The work took place in a contained area within a construction zone where no school staff or students were present.

Eastwood Enterprises, Inc., was cited for ten “willful,” four “serious,” and four “general” violations of the rules that protect workers from exposure to asbestos and other hazards. The violations occurred over the course of the past year.

The investigation found numerous instances in which Eastwood Enterprises had failed to provide basic protections to the workers who perform asbestos removal, including failure to provide medical testing, proper respirators and respirator-fit testing for workers; failure to conduct air-quality monitoring in the contained work area; and failure to provide a proper decontamination area where the workers could clean up and change clothes.

Additionally, the investigation found that Eastwood Enterprises had falsified records to certify workers for asbestos-removal work.

“Serious” violations are those in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from an existing condition, and a “willful” citation is issued when the department finds an employer intentionally or knowingly violated rules or knew that a violation was occurring and was plainly indifferent to correcting it. A “general” violation is one that is not likely to result in serious injury or death.

Asbestos is a mineral-based material that is resistant to fire and corrosives and is linked to significant health hazards. It was widely used in buildings constructed before 1980. It is still in use in construction products today, despite a commonly held belief that it has been banned.

The company has 15 working days to appeal the citation.

# # #

For media information: Elaine Fischer, L&I Public Affairs, 360-902-5413, or nele235@LNI.wa.gov, or visit the L&I News and Media Center at www.lni.wa.gov/News.

Radio broadcast version (:30)
The Department of Labor & Industries has fined a Lakewood asbestos-removal contractor $106,400 for exposing workers to health hazards during an asbestos-removal project at Foss High School in Tacoma this past year.

Eastwood Enterprises was cited for violations related to safe handling of asbestos products. Additionally, the investigation found that the employer had falsified records to certify workers for asbestos-removal work.

The investigation did not find any evidence that staff or students were exposed to asbestos. Asbestos is a widely used mineral-based material that is linked to significant health hazards.

End of main content, page footer follows.

Access Washington official state portal

© Washington State Dept. of Labor & Industries. Use of this site is subject to the laws of the state of Washington.