Asbestos and lead safety violations result in large fine for Bellingham company
TUMWATER — A Bellingham-based property management company has been cited by the Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) for multiple serious safety and health violations, most of which involve improper handling of asbestos and lead.
As a result of the violations, Daylight Properties is facing fines totaling $185,600.
L&I has cited the company for 33 serious and six general violations. The highest single fine was $48,000 for failure to obtain a good faith inspection before beginning asbestos removal work. The amount was based on a $600 per day fine over an 80-day time period.
Other violations included not having asbestos removal certification, not having an asbestos “competent person” on site, workers not being certified for asbestos work, and not sufficiently wetting asbestos-containing materials during removal.
“Improper and unsafe lead and asbestos removal is a serious problem in Washington,” said Anne Soiza, L&I’s assistant director for the Division of Occupational Safety and Health. “This company renovates old buildings which often have asbestos and lead- containing materials. There are laws in place, and we expect them to be followed to prevent exposing workers, tenants and the general public to these hazardous materials.”
Asbestos is extremely hazardous and can cause potentially fatal diseases like asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer. Lead exposures have serious and permanent health effects on children and adults. Only a certified contractor who follows the specific related safety and health rules may remove and dispose of lead and asbestos-containing materials.
It’s all-too-common for contractors to conduct asbestos removal activities without the required certification, proper training, processes and equipment. It’s important for homeowners to know that if they plan to hire a contractor to remodel or renovate their home, they are required to get a good faith inspection before work begins. If asbestos is present, the contractor must be certified.
L&I has a list of certified contractors. It's important to refer to that list because some unscrupulous contractors continue to advertise asbestos removal work even after they’ve been cited and decertified.
For some companies that do high-volume work, such as home or property flippers, even large fines are not a sufficient deterrent. Homeowners and property owners should be cautious when hiring contractors.
Daylight Properties has 15 business days to appeal the citations.
Penalty money paid as a result of a citation is placed in the workers' compensation supplemental pension fund, helping injured workers and families of those who have died on the job.
For a copy of the citations, please contact Public Affairs at 360-902-5413.
Frank Ameduri, L&I Public Affairs, 360-902-5413.