The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries fined three companies involved in renovations of the historic Otis Hotel in downtown Spokane nearly $140,000 for mishandling toxic asbestos in the old hotel.
Curtis Rystadt purchased the building for $1.4 million in June 2017. His company, Hos and Boz LLC, and Santiago’s Handyman Services, both of Oregon, were hit with a $24,500 fine for violating eight serious and three general worker safety rules, and an additional $45,000 for serious violations regarding hazardous materials. Both companies have appealed the fines.
Kent, Washington-based 4 Aces Restoration was hit with a $200 fine for failing to inform the state that it would be removing the asbestos.
The citations were ordered based on a March inspection by air quality officials who found signs of improper handling and disposal of asbestos-containing material in the 107-year-old hotel. Inspectors also learned that 105 dumpsters were removed from the area before they arrived on the scene.
An “order of immediate restraint” was placed on the building by the Washington labor agency, which delayed construction for three months while an investigation was launched. Inspectors also found lead in the paint used in the building, which was not properly disposed of.
Asbestos is a mineral that was frequently used in construction materials until the 1980s when its use was restricted. It had been known for years by then that exposure to asbestos could cause serious health risks if its microscopic fibers go airborne, which can happen during renovation and demolitions of older buildings.
Asbestos can cause lung cancer and mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that begins in the tissue that surrounds the lungs, abdomen or chest. It can take up to 50 years for these asbestos cancers to develop into symptoms. Once symptomatic, the disease typically kills within a year or two.
Source: The Spokesman Review