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Lynnwood asbestos removal company fined nearly $800,000 for knowingly exposing workers and homeowners to unsafe conditions

May 23, 2024

The company has filed an appeal in both cases.

TUMWATER — A Lynnwood asbestos removal contractor is facing stiff fines for knowingly and repeatedly exposing employees and homeowners to extremely hazardous conditions.

The Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) inspected two Seattle Asbestos of Washington job sites at Western Washington homes recently and found dozens of violations that created a risk of exposure for workers and homeowners.

“These are certified asbestos supervisors, working for a certified asbestos abatement contractor ,who know the rules but have demonstrated time and again they will not prioritize the safety or the health of workers or customers,” said Craig Blackwood, assistant director for L&I’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health.

Asbestos is extremely hazardous and can cause potentially fatal diseases such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer. Only a certified abatement contractor who follows specific asbestos-related safety and health rules may remove and dispose of asbestos-containing building materials.

At the first location, a Mountlake Terrace home, inspectors found plastic barriers meant to seal off an area from airborne asbestos particles that had holes in them large enough to put a camera through to take pictures.

At the second home, in Ferndale, inspectors saw employees leaving the regulated work area without any protective clothing or respirators, and without using the onsite showers required at asbestos removal jobs.

At both locations, L&I found violations of basic asbestos-removal regulations including:

  • Equipment to clean harmful particles from the air was not working properly.

  • A dishwasher, water heater, and wood stove were not covered with plastic to seal them from particles.

  • Multiple respirators for workers were inside containment areas exposing them to contamination.

  • A large pile of drywall sitting on the living room carpet was not bagged nor saturated with water to keep down the dust.

  • There were no plastic drop cloths placed anywhere in the work area.

In both cases, L&I ordered the company to stop work until the problems were corrected. Between the two inspections, the agency found more than 35 willful health and safety violations and issued fines of more than $790,000. Violations are considered “willful” when the company knew or should have known the requirements, but still failed to meet them.

The company has filed an appeal in both cases.

A history of ignoring the rules

There have been five inspections where Seattle Asbestos of Washington left asbestos-containing material behind or otherwise violated essential asbestos safety measures. At the Ferndale site, they left a large amount of crumbling asbestos insulation all over the basement after they left the site.

L&I has started the process to revoke the company’s certification to do asbestos work in Washington. The two asbestos supervisors involved in these cases could also lose their ability to do this work, for this or any other asbestos-removal company.

L&I is encouraging homeowners to protect themselves by reviewing L&I’s certified contractors list before hiring an asbestos removal company.


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