Work to restore the Otis Hotel in downtown Spokane was stopped this month after air quality inspectors found signs of asbestos and no sign the developer had hired a certified contractor to deal with the cancer-causing material.
Notices posted March 9 on the doors of the old hotel show an “order of immediate restraint,” which halts all work as the state Department of Labor and Industries investigates if proper handling and disposal of any asbestos-laden materials has been done.
Jeff Lewis our President and founder has been accepted and will join the Spring Class of 2018 of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program. This is the national program designed by Babson College, the nation’s top-ranked entrepreneurship school, that provides small businesses with an intensive 4 month, online and on-campus, program to develop practical skills that small business managers can immediately put into action within their company. The skills learned during the program will include how to recognize new opportunities, embrace practices that increase business growth and ultimately develop a customized growth plan for their business.
As a part of being accepted into this program, Jeff will be attending the 10,000 Small Businesses Summit: The Big Power of Small Business event on February 13 and 14, 2018 in Washington DC. Some of the speakers of the event include Lloyd Blankfein, Michael Bloomberg, and Warren Buffet, along with some of our elected officials who are involved in the support and development of small businesses.
Tumwater – A Seattle hotel owner who knew his building contained asbestos decided to cut corners and save money by removing it using untrained workers. As a result, the Seattle Pacific Hotel has been cited for multiple egregious safety and health violations and faces $355,000 in fines for exposing the workers to asbestos hazards.
The Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has cited the hotel for a dozen “willful” violations, the most severe, for knowingly exposing workers to asbestos during the hotel remodeling.
“It’s unconscionable that anyone would knowingly expose untrained and unprotected workers to asbestos. It’s an extremely hazardous material that’s notorious for causing cancer and other serious health issues,” said Anne Soiza, L&I’s assistant director for the Division of Occupational Safety and Health.
L&I began its investigation last July and immediately issued a stop-work order when it discovered that asbestos removal was being done by workers who were not trained or certified to safely perform the work.
During the lobby renovation, an asbestos-abatement contractor had discovered that much of the ceiling was originally constructed with cement-asbestos-board. The L&I investigation found that the hotel owner, Raj Nariya, had gotten an estimate from the certified asbestos-abatement contractor who discovered the issue, but didn’t hire that firm. Instead, the owner had untrained employees of a roofing contractor do the work without letting them know the ceiling contained asbestos.
Asbestos is extremely hazardous and can cause potentially fatal diseases like asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer. Removal and disposal of asbestos-containing building materials must be done by a certified abatement contractor who follows safety and health rules to protect workers and the public.
The L&I investigation found a total of 12 willful workplace health violations related to removal of the asbestos. Ten of the violations carried a penalty of $35,000 each, the maximum amount allowed for an employer of its size.
The violations cited were for exposing workers to asbestos, failing to provide respiratory protection, leaving asbestos debris on site and other safety and health issues. The hotel owner was also cited for an additional willful-general violation for not taking a pre-removal air sample before removing the asbestos-materials. That violation came with a $5,000 fine.
The employer has 15 business days to appeal the citation.
Penalty money paid as a result of a citation is placed in the workers’ compensation supplemental pension fund, helping injured workers and families of those who have died on the job.
For a copy of the citations, please contact Public Affairs at 360-902-5413.
For media information: Elaine.Fischer@Lni.wa.gov or 360-902-5413.
PacRim is proud of Amazon in their support of Mary’s Place. We are happy to be part of the team, and have assisted Mary’s place in their current facilities and look forward to helping them expand their programs and services and the good work they are doing.
News article in the Tacoma News Tribune regarding a project we recently completed for Pierce County.
Asbestos project documentation is important!
Washington State AG Ferguson accuses asbestos contractor of falsifying disposal documents.
OWNER AND OPERATOR OF ASBESTOS REMOVAL TRAINING COURSE PLEADS GUILTY TO PROVIDING FALSE CERTIFICATIONS
Defendant Admits He Provided Certifications for those who Never Took Course
The owner of a company that provided federally-mandated training for construction firms working with asbestos pleaded guilty today to falsifying documents as part of a scheme to violate the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. ISAAC COLE, 54, of Kent, Washington, owns and operates Cole and Associates, Inc., a business licensed by Washington State to provide asbestos training courses for asbestos workers and supervisors in exchange for a course enrollment fee. COLE admitted in his plea agreement that he took additional fees to provide falsified certifications to people he knew had not actually taken the course. Sentencing before U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour is scheduled for January 13, 2017…….
Great article and downloadable PDF regarding hidden hazardous materials liability carried by Architects and other Professionals on construction, renovation and demolition projects.
Check it out here: AIA California Council
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed criminal charges on Monday in Spokane Superior Court against three people and one company for multiple violations of clean air laws involving improper asbestos removal and disposal….
Its asbestos awareness week. #AsbestosAwarenessWeek
Please check out this information from Washington State Labor and Industries regarding asbestos safety for real estate professionals.