Wash. Contractor Fined for Exposing Workers to Lead

August 8, 2003

The Washington Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) has cited and fined a King County contractor $148,700 for allegedly exposing workers to health hazards caused by lead exposure. Diamaco Inc. of Bellevue, Wash. was cited for 15 violations of worker safety and health rules while doing bridge repair work.

The violations occurred in January on the Wishkah River Bridge in Aberdeen. The work was temporarily stopped and four workers were removed from the job site because of their high blood-lead levels. Blood test results indicated that one worker had the highest occupational blood-lead level seen in the 10 years this data has been tracked in Washington state.

The Diamaco case illustrates the ongoing problem of overexposure to lead in the construction industry. Although the effects of lead exposure on health have been known for many years, L&I officials say workers are still suffering damage to their health from workplace exposure to lead, frequently from lead-based paint.

The company has the right to appeal the citation.

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