WA State Safety and Health Standards for Beryllium Updated

Chronic Beryllium Disease (CBD), sometimes called berylliosis, is an immunological lung disease caused by exposure to beryllium via inhalation of airborne beryllium or skin contact with beryllium-containing dust, fume, mist, or solutions. CBD can progress to a serious and life-threatening disease if left undiagnosed and beryllium exposure continues.

Washington State has completed rulemaking to to add Chapter 296-850 WAC Beryllium as a new chapter to Title 296 WAC of the Department of Labor and Industries. This action was taken in response to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) final rule on Beryllium in the General Labor, Construction and Maritime areas if industry.

The Department of Labor and Industries will have one Beryllium rule to include all industries listed, instead of separate rules for each industry as OSHA has done. This rule will limit worker exposure (Personal Exposure Limits, or PELs) to beryllium and beryllium compounds, which can cause the debilitating lung disease known as chronic beryllium disease (CBD) and lung cancer. This rule mirrors OSHAs final rule, with minor differences in the Definitions, Medical Removal, and Medical Surveillance sections that allow for implementation of the rule to be consistent with existing requirements in Title 51 RCW. The PEL tables in WAC 296-307-62625 and WAC 296-841-20025 were updated to reflect OSHAs reduced Beryllium PELs.

All obligations of this standard commence and become enforceable on December 12, 2018, except for the following compliance dates: Change rooms and showers required by WAC 296-850-145 must be provided by March 11, 2019; and Engineering controls required by WAC 296-850-130 Methods of Compliance must be implemented by March 10, 2020. The changes were adopted 8/21/2018 and will be effective on 12/12/2018.

Find more information about these rule changes on the Department of Labor and Industries website.

Photo by Neil. Moralee on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

 

Little Caesars Fined More Than $40,000 for Teen Worker Violations in WA

A Little Caesars Pizza restaurant franchise faces $42,000 in fines for youth labor law violations, including allowing teenagers to work too many hours without a rest period on more than 100 separate occasions.

NW Caesars 1 LLC is appealing the citation and fine, which is one of the largest in recent years that the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has issued for a workplace violation involving youth. A hearing date for the appeal will be set in November. 

“This is important because meal and rest breaks for teens are mandatory,” said Josie Bryan, youth employment specialist for L&I. “Not only that, but breaks can help prevent injuries on the job.”

L&I’s inspection focused on two of the franchise’s restaurants in University Place — one at 5502 Orchard St. W., and one at 7305 40th St. W.

The agency found there were more than a 100 separate instances of missed rest periods. There were also violations involving minors working during school hours, working past 10 p.m. on a school night, and working with equipment that teens under 18 are not allowed to use.

The investigation covered the time period between December 2017 and February 2018. It was prompted by a tip to L&I that teens at one of the restaurants were disassembling and reassembling a pizza dough sheeter – a machine workers under 18 are prohibited from using. In all, the company was fined $42,050.

The Lakewood based NW Caesars 1 LLC was cited and fined by L&I for similar violations in 2015, including issues related to teen hours worked, and teen workers using prohibited equipment. L&I consulted with the company about teen workplace issues.

“The law is clear; there are only certain tasks teens can do in the workplace, depending on age,” Bryan said. “Our primary goal is to keep teen workers safe, and make sure businesses are following youth labor laws.”

More information about work requirements for teens is available at www.Lni.wa.gov/TeenWorkers, and simply clicking on “Hours of Work.” There is also information about prohibited duties and teen worker safety.

Seattle, WA Colman Dock Construction Continues

Washington State Ferries is replacing the aging and seismically vulnerable parts of Colman Dock in Seattle in order to maintain its critical role as a regional multimodal transportation hub.

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) reported that construction crews recently finished installing all of the concrete panels needed to form the flooring deck of the first section of the new main ferry terminal building at Colman Dock. Next steps include filling in the gaps between the panels to make one smooth trestle deck, this is called a “closure pour.”

This section of the new building will open in mid-2019. At that point, it will be used as the main ferry terminal facility while crews clear out and demolish the old terminal building, the one currently in use. Once the old terminal building is taken down, the remaining sections of the new terminal building will be built. The entire new terminal building and surrounding dock will open to the public in 2023.

The opening date of the new passenger-only ferry building and pier, currently under construction on the south side of Colman Dock, has moved to summer 2019 instead of this fall. The revised opening date allows the contractor to re-sequence the overall construction schedule so that WSDOT can stay on track to finish the entire Seattle Multimodal Terminal at Colman Dock Project on time.

See the WSDOT page for the Seattle Multimodal Terminal at Colman Dock Project to keep up-to-date on construction progress. View a photo gallery of this project maintained by WSDOT, too.

Photo credit: WSDOT

Kit Case, Causey Wright's Paralegal & Media Manager

In Honeywell Asbestos Coverage Fight, Court Won’t Change Allocation Rule

Today’s post was shared by Jon L Gelman and comes from www.law.com

Jaynee LaVecchia
Justice Jaynee LaVecchia

The New Jersey Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that Honeywell International will not be required to contribute to damages from asbestos claims relating to brake and clutch pads from a company it purchased after insurance companies ceased writing policies that would cover asbestos-related illnesses.

The court was divided 5-1, affirmed a trial court’s ruling that Honeywell had no responsibility for pre-1987 initial exposure claims.

“Under our current law on allocation of liability among insurers, an insured is not forced to assume responsibility in that allocation during the insurance coverage block for years in which insurance coverage is not reasonably available for purchase,” said Justice Jaynee LaVecchia for the majority, citing the high court’s precedent-setting 1994 ruling in Owens-Illinois v. United Insurance.

The majority said it did not believe there was any reason to depart from that precedent.

Bendix, which was subsumed by Honeywell in later years, continued to use asbestos in its brake- and clutch-pad products until 2001, LaVecchia said.

Two insurers, Travelers and St. Paul, urged the court to recognize an equitable “exceptional circumstance” rule to depart from Owens-Illinois, and said the “coverage block” should run until the 2001 end of production of those products. Honeywell contended it had not sought coverage for a claim stemming from any post-1987 initial asbestos exposure.

“No…

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Don’t Go It Alone

Today’s post comes from guest author Richard Cahill Jr., from Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano.

An injured worker walked through my door the other day frustrated beyond belief. He had been representing himself on his compensation claim for his back injury. He thought he did not need a lawyer and could handle it himself.

The insurance company accepted the claim and paid this worker only a fraction of what he was actually entitled to, though that was not the issue the client wanted to discuss. He did not even realize that he had been short changed.

What he wanted to discuss was getting back surgery. His doctor requested a laminectomy, but the insurance company told the doctor and the injured worker that they were not going to authorize it or pay for it. This man had been suffering terrible back pain for nearly six months and his surgery was never scheduled.

The injured worker was shocked when I told him that the insurance company did not have to give authorization — this surgery was already authorized under the Board’s Medical Treatment Guidelines. The insurance company knew this of course, but seemingly played ignorant to avoid paying for the needed surgery.

When I then told him that he could not only have his surgery, but also had been paid less than half of the indemnity payments to which he was entitled, the gentleman shook his head in frustration and said, “I shouldn’t have done this alone.”

How right he was. The New York Workers Compensation system is extremely complicated. Insurance companies know the system well and often do not tell unrepresented injured workers details that matter, often while telling the injured worker that they are acting in their best interest.

Do not go it alone.  At Pasternack, Tilker, Ziegler, Walsh, Stanton, and Romano, with more than eight decades of experience in defending the rights of New Yorkers, we help clients get the justice they deserve.

Big, New Seattle Tunnel Will Need Tiny Trucks to Maintain It

When a really big tunnel needs really small trucks…

 

When the SR 99 tunnel opens, a fleet of tiny trucks will help WSDOT crews maintain the tunnel – traveling in places most of us will never see. While you drive underneath Seattle, your car might be just a few feet above maintenance workers doing their jobs in these bright, yellow trucks.

All nine trucks are electric and will be housed in the tunnel’s north operations building where they can be recharged by simply plugging them into a standard outlet.

Bigger maintenance jobs will require bigger equipment, like bucket trucks and flatbed lift trucks. All total, more than 30 pieces of equipment will make up the tunnel maintenance fleet dedicated to traffic and maintenance inside Seattle’s newest tunnel.

The tunnel could open as soon as this fall, after an approximately three-week viaduct closure to realign SR 99 into the new tunnel.

Port of Seattle Another Step Closer to Handling the Largest Cargo Vessels in the World

The Northwest Seaport Alliance “Breakwater” Newsletter – July 2018:

Seattle Harbor deepening project approved for 57 feet

The USACE’s Commanding General signed the Chief of Engineers Report for the Seattle Harbor Navigation Improvement Project, a plan to deepen the channels leading to the container terminals in the Seattle Harbor to 57 feet.

“This project will make the Port of Seattle the deepest container port in the nation at 57 feet deep,” said Courtney Gregoire, Port of Seattle commission president and co-chair of The Northwest Seaport Alliance. “This is another step forward to making T-5 big ship ready, and able to handle the largest cargo vessels in the world. The Port of Seattle and The Northwest Seaport Alliance thank the Army Corps of Engineers for their timely completion of this study and recognition of the value the project will contribute to our nation.”

The Corps delivered its fiscal year 2018 work plan to Congress, which includes funding to initiate a feasibility study for a deepening project for the Tacoma Harbor.

Photo credit: The Northwest Seaport Alliance

Bellevue, WA Firm Barred from Public Projects; Failed to Pay $140,000 to Workers

Quality Construction has been barred from seeking contracts on public works projects after failing to pay workers more than $140,000 for their work on two elementary schools.

The Bellevue-based firm did not appeal the formal order the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) issued recently that also suspended its contractor’s license. The investigation covered work that started in spring 2015.

“Our investigation showed Quality Construction shorted the workers on both public projects, paying them less than what they were owed,” said Jim Christensen, Prevailing Wage Program manager for L&I. “These repeated violations of state law by the company showed it wasn’t just a mistake in filing paperwork.”

Prime contractors agree to pay shorted workers.

As a result of the L&I investigation, prime contractors on both projects paid the wages Quality owed its workers. In all, more than $140,000 was paid to 27 workers.

Cornerstone General Contractors Inc., of Bothell, paid $40,500 for work on the Sunny Hills Elementary School in the Issaquah School District.

Bayley Construction, of Mercer Island, paid $102,000 for work on Seattle Public Schools’ Arbor Heights Elementary School. L&I reached an agreement late in May with Bayley to pay the wages.

“The prime contractors should get credit for stepping up and fixing the problem,” Christensen said. “It was unfortunate they were left with problems Quality created.”

Workers paid at wrong rates and records falsified

In both construction cases, the employees were doing carpentry work on the schools but were paid at lower, apprenticeship wages, even though they weren’t state-registered apprentices. The firm also falsified payroll documents relating to the work that took place, according to the investigation.

The state’s prevailing wage law, triggered when construction uses public funds, covers workers on projects such as schools, roads, and buildings. L&I enforces the law, which protects employees by setting the wages for specific work. The law ensures contractors have a level playing field when bidding on public projects.

Photo on Foter.com

Kit Case, Causey Wright's Paralegal & Media Manager

Insect-Related Risks to Outdoor Workers

Today’s post was shared by Jon L Gelman and comes from mailchi.mp

A new fact sheet and investigation report from the California Department of Public Health’s Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program details the death of a date palm tree worker after he was attacked by multiple bees at an organic orchard in Southern California. Aggressive Africanized honey bees now account for the majority of feral honey bees in this region. Employers can post the fact sheet – also available in Spanish – at work sites.

Outdoor workers in agriculture, landscaping, construction, and other industries are at risk for insect-related illnesses and injuries, including fatal anaphylactic shock and mosquito-borne and tickborne diseases.

A new Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) discusses the rise of illnesses from certain insect bites, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has a topic page for bites and stings with preventive tips for workers and employers.

Email Occupational Health Watch with feedback about this update or change of address.

An Africanized honey bee
An Africanized honey bee

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Taco Bell Franchise Fined by WA State for Violating Teen Worker Laws

A Taco Bell franchise owner has been fined nearly $120,000 by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) for repeated violations of teen worker laws over several years at a half-dozen Western Washington restaurants.

This week, L&I sent a letter to the California-based Taco Bell of America LLC requesting representatives meet with the agency to discuss required changes in the company’s youth employment practices. The company owns some 60 restaurants in the state. 

It’s important to note these violations are connected specifically to Taco Bell of America LLC. There are other Taco Bell restaurants in Washington not connected to this company, or to the violations found.

“Teens are an important part of the workforce. We enforce these laws to prevent injuries and keep them safe on the job,” said David Johnson, L&I Employment Standards Program manager.

In all, six investigations over three years – based on complaints from employees and parents – have resulted in fines totaling $119,450.

Numerous violations found at Marysville, Auburn and other stores

L&I issued one citation in June of this year against a company restaurant at 17105 27th Ave. N.E. in Marysville, and one in March involving the Taco Bell at 710 Auburn Way S., in Auburn. Fines in these cases total $70,000. The company is appealing the Marysville citation.

At the Marysville location, L&I’s investigation covering January and February found 11 youth worked more than three hours without taking a rest break 59 times; nine minors worked more than four hours without a rest break on 20 occasions, and the restaurant failed to produce parent school authorization forms or proof of age of the workers. L&I found similar violations at the Auburn restaurant.

During the summer, many youth are working real jobs for the first time. “Teens often don’t know their workplace rights, so it’s up to managers to follow the laws and emphasize safety on the job,” Johnson said.

In 2017, 680 youth, age 17 and under, reported injuries on the job in Washington.

In 2015 and 2016, L&I conducted other investigations of Taco Bell of America LLC locations. Those investigations resulted in the company paying $49,450 in fines. Violations were found at stores located at 501 15th St. N.E., Auburn; 182 Trosper Road S.W., Tumwater; 1478 Dike Access Road, Woodland; and 21131 State Route 410 E., Bonney Lake.

L&I provided training for more than two dozen Taco Bell of America LLC restaurant managers and human resources staff members during those investigations.

It’s important to note these violations are connected specifically to Taco Bell of America LLC. There are other Taco Bell restaurants in Washington not connected to this company, or to the violations found.

Published by Causey Wright