Despite the fact that it is well known that improper handling of asbestos can lead to mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other serious diseases in those who have breathed the material in, a Washington state asbestos removal company has repeatedly violated safety rules. Though they have previously been cited and fined, they have continued to act with willful disregard towards the law, and the latest episode has resulted in fines totaling $229,700.
The violations which could lead to workers and the public being diagnosed with mesothelioma were committed by a company called Above & Beyond, a contractor based in the city of Edmonds. The Washington Department of Labor & Industries has cited the company with multiple willful safety violations involving two separate inspections. There is a chance that the company will lose its certification for handling asbestos following a review by the department. Speaking of Above & Beyond’s actions, L&I’s assistant director for the Division of Occupational Safety and Health said, “This company has demonstrated a continuous indifference to Washington’s asbestos handling rules which protect workers and the public from harm. This fine delivers a clear message that asbestos is a deadly hazard and we won’t tolerate any company that doesn’t follow the rules to keep the public and workers safe.”
Asbestos contractors receive their certification following extensive training and documentation that they will follow long-established safety and health rules for the removal and disposal of asbestos-contaminated building materials. Failure to follow these rules risks the release of asbestos into the work area, as well as into public spaces where others may be put at risk of breathing in airborne asbestos fibers disturbed during renovation or demolition. In the two violations cited, the company was accused of failure to provide safety equipment, to sample air quality, and to safeguard and seal asbestos-containing material following an emergency removal of asbestos-contaminated boiler insulation in an apartment building and the removal of an asbestos popcorn ceiling in a home. Both of these episodes fell under the category of willful violations because there was evidence of “plain indifference or an intentional disregard to a hazard or rule.” The company had previously been categorized as a severe violator, which is what led to the follow-up inspection that revealed the latest violations.
Intentional disregard of the risks posed by asbestos exposure has led to many cases of mesothelioma and asbestosis. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed and you need legal assistance, contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.