College in Washington Fined $135K for Multiple Asbestos Violations

September 30, 2019

The Evergreen State College in Washington is facing more than $135,000 in fines for multiple violations related to asbestos and other safety issues around its Olympia campus.

The Department of Labor & Industries has cited the college for 29 serious violations. The fines for each violation range from $600 to $5,400. There were also two general violations with no fines.

L&I opened the inspection on March 20, 2019, after receiving a complaint. The college’s maintenance team had an employee enter a steam vault and remove damaged asbestos-containing pipe insulation without adequate protections. The college was cited for several serious violations for this and other asbestos-handling violations.

L&I also cited Evergreen for lockout/tagout violations and violations of confined space requirements. Lockout/tagout violations means the college required employees to work on electrical or powered equipment while the machinery could still operate. L&I also found violations for lack of eye protection, not meeting emergency eyewash requirements, and deficiencies in the college’s chemical hazard communication program.

Since the inspection, Evergreen has made a number of changes. The college hired a certified asbestos abatement contractor, and it sent two workers to a certified building inspector training course.

Employers have 15 business days from the time they receive a citation to appeal.

Penalty money paid as a result of a citation is placed in the workers’ compensation supplemental pension fund.

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