Tumwater, WA- (Workerscompensation.com)- The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has cited a Washington-based property management company. Daylight Properties has also been been fined $185,600 for the health and safety violations, most of which involve the improper handling of lead and asbestos.
The state agency cited the company for 33 serious and 6 general violations for the work at three of its buildings located in Chehalis, WA. Daylight also owns 25 residential and commercial buildings in Bellingham and Lynden.
According to the citation, some of the serious violations included the following:
The employer did not ensure circular hand-fed table saws were provided with a hood-type guard that covers the blade at all times when the blade is not in use, which could cause serious injuries such as lacerations and minor amputations when not properly guarded
Employer did not use vacuum cleaners equipped with HEPA filters to remove dust and debris, which contained asbestos, during renovation work at the St. Helens Inn Apartments and on the ground level floor of the Brunswig Building
At the time of the inspection, the employer did not ensure that Class I removal of an asbestos-containing material was conducted in a regulated area with the removal of wall board systems from the St. Helens Inn Apartments, and with the removal of thermal system insulations at the Brunswig Building basement. The lack of regulated areas could result in the spread of asbestos fibers throughout the job site as well as the surrounding area. Exposure to asbestos can have long term health effects such as asbestosis, lung, mesothelioma, and other cancers.
Daylight Properties did not ensure that for indoor Class II work, where the employer has not produced a negative exposure assessment, that critical barriers are placed over all openings to isolate the removal area, as required by this standard.
The employer did not prohibit dry sweeping, shoveling and dry cleanup of dust and debris containing asbestos as required by this standard. Workers were documented dry sweeping demolition debris containing up to 12 percent asbestos at the Brunswig Building ground level floor/retail space. A broom was also observed in the old maintenance shop of the St. Helens Inn Apartments which was under construction.
Daylight Properties did not provide coveralls, head coverings, foot coverings, or other protective clothing while employees were performing removal of asbestos containing material during renovation work being performed at all three of the locations.
“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 (DOSH). “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.”
The highest fine levied against the company was $48,000, for failing to obtain a good faith inspection before beginning the removal of asbestos. his amount was based on a $600 fine that spanned over an 80-day period.
The CEO of Daylight Properties, Kane Hall declared in a media release that the state “inaccurately describes the working conditions” at the three properties in Chehalis. He also stated “We have a long history of preserving and restoring buildings by following relevant local, state and federal regulations. We will work with the agencies involved to assure the safety of our tenants and the community.”
Daylight Properties plans on appealing the citation.
“As for the appeal, it can follow a couple of different tracks,” L&I spokesperson Frank Ameduri told WorkersCompensation.com. “The first is what we call “’e-assumption’ here. It means appeal. That route means DOSH reconsiders the inspection material and the conclusions and penalties arrived at by the inspector and the regional manager, along with any additional information the employer wants to provide. We may determine that the fine can be reduced or removed, but, as you might imagine, we often agree with our own conclusions. The employer receives what’s called a corrective notice of redetermination (CNR). The other route and this can happen as an appeal of a CNR, or I believe the employer can choose to go directly to this option, is an appeal to the board of Industrial Insurance Appeals. Another possibility is a settlement. The employer can negotiate with DOSH AG and come to a settlement.”
Daylight Properties has 15 business days to appeal the citations.