L&I fines The Evergreen State College $135,000 for asbestos, safety violations

Asbestos and safety violations could cost The Evergreen State College $135,000.

That’s according to the state Department of Labor and Industries, which announced the fine on Friday after an inspection that began in spring 2019. The college was notified about the fine in early September and had 15 days to file an appeal, L&I information shows. It was not immediately known if Evergreen officials took that step.

Still, L&I acknowledged that the college has made a number of changes since the inspection.

After receiving a complaint, the L&I inspection began in March and later cited the college for 29 serious violations, with fines that range from $600 to $5,400.

Among L&I’s findings:

A maintenance team had an employee enter a steam vault and remove damaged asbestos-containing pipe insulation without adequate protections.

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, emergency eyewash requirements and problems with the college’s chemical hazard communication program.

The college has made the following changes: a certified asbestos abatement contractor was hired and it sent two workers to a certified building inspector training course.

“The most important outcome for inspections is that an employer fixes existing hazards and prevents them from happening,” L&I officials said in a news release.

Rolf has worked at The Olympian since August 2005. He covers breaking news, the city of Lacey and business for the paper. Rolf graduated from The Evergreen State College in 1990.