A Kirkland WA asbestos removal company has been cited for numerous asbestos removal violations that put workers and homeowners at risk of developing asbestos-related diseases.
According to the Department of Labor and Industries in Washington state, American Disaster Services has been cited for eight ‘willful, serious and general’ violations that led to workers being exposed to asbestos that could lead to deadly cancers. The violations occurred during renovation work at several job sites in Seattle. The company is going to be fined a total of $87,000.
The Department of Labor and Industries is going to take away the company’s asbestos removal certification. Also, the company’s contractor registration has been suspended as of October 7. So, the company is not able to work on any type of construction project or asbestos removal projects in the state.
The L&I investigation that was performed determined that the contractor had left large piles of asbestos-containing materials on the floor of a Seattle home and told the homeowner that he was done, and left the site.
What Is Asbestos Removal?
Asbestos removal is often done when a building is under renovation or is being torn down. Many parts of old buildings that were built before the 1980s are now falling apart and asbestos often needs to be removed because it is a safety and health hazard. Also, when buildings are being renovated, older buildings can contain high levels of asbestos containing materials, and they must be properly disposed of and handled.
Asbestos removal is also referred to as asbestos abatement. Asbestos has to be safely removed by licensed and certified professionals that have experience with all of the local and state laws pertaining to asbestos removal. One of the most important agencies to be familiar with is the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA. This federal agency has many laws and regulations regarding the safe handling and removal of asbestos containing materials. While asbestos often is not harmful if it is undisturbed, when a building is renovated, those asbestos containing materials can be affected, and dangerous asbestos fibers can enter the environment.
Places where asbestos removal procedures may need to be followed in older buildings are with:
- Floor tiles
- Ceiling tiles
- Wall insulation
- Plumbing insulation
- Bricks and stucco
- Ventilation ducts
Removal of asbestos containing materials must be done by a certified asbestos abatement firm because of the health dangers involved. When taking out asbestos materials and disturbing them in any way, asbestos fibers can be released into the air. Most companies in most states that do this work have to pass a tough asbestos removal certification program.
If you think that you may have been exposed to asbestos-related materials as a homeowner or contractor, you should contact the relevant government agency in your state, such as your state’s environmental protection agency.
If anyone else had done any more work on the home, they could have been exposed to very high asbestos levels.
According to the head of L&I’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, asbestos is very dangerous and workers die each year from being exposed to it. The agency also noted that the asbestos regulations exist to protect people, and companies that do not follow the law will be fined heavily.
Being exposed to asbestos can cause asbestosis, which is a potentially deadly disease that causes scarring in the lungs and can eventually lead to other serious problems, including heart failure.
Worse, exposure to asbestos can cause lung cancer and mesothelioma. This is why that the removal of materials that contain asbestos have to be done by a certified contractor who has been licensed to conduct asbestos abatement. Very specific health rules have to be followed to protect both workers and the public. Also, the contractor must be certain that asbestos-containing materials be disposed of properly.
ADS was cited for a single willful serious violation and was fined $30,000 for not make sure that all asbestos materials were removed from three rooms of the Seattle home. At least 50% of the concrete floor in the basement had large amounts of asbestos that needed to be removed safely.
L&I also cited the company for another serious violation that has a penalty of $35,000. This was for failure to do personal air sampling during the removal of asbestos. For example, the company was removing popcorn ceilings that contained asbestos fibers and did not use required respiratory protection equipment.
ADS was further cited for two general violations with a penalty of $5000 each, for not telling L&I of asbestos removal work that was going to be done. The company also was cited for not filing proper notices of intent to take out asbestos on three construction projects.
Four other penalties were assessed at $3000 each for other violations of asbestos regulations.
Due to all of these violations, ,ADS has been listed as a severe violator and will be subject to regular follow up inspections to see if the hazardous conditions still exist. The employer has appealed the decision.