According to the Washington state Department of Labor and Industries, Seattle Pacific Hotel was responsible for putting untrained workers at serious risk by removing asbestos.
Putting profits ahead of lives
According to the state agency, owner Raj Nariya was aware that there was asbestos in the ceiling of the lobby of the hotel. The owner had obtained an estimate from an asbestos-abatement contractor. However, removing asbestos requires trained workers who understand and can guard against the risk. Faced with the cost, the owner did the unconscionable – he hired workers who were not aware there was asbestos in the ceiling and who therefore did not guard against the danger. The workers were untrained and exposed to the carcinogenic mineral fiber.
L & I investigation reveals numerous violations
The Department of Labor and Industries began its investigation in July of 2017 and issued a stop-work order immediately upon finding the illegal removal efforts underway.
Asbestos, when inhaled, causes mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis, among other illnesses. Because the owner willfully put workers at risk, these workers must now live with the knowledge that they could develop mesothelioma.
Washington has fined the owner $355,000 for 12 intentional violations of workplace health. These included failing to provide respiratory protection and leaving asbestos on the worksite. The money will go to the state’s workers’ compensation supplemental pension fund.
The workers may also have legal options, including filing a lawsuit against the owner of the hotel.