A Washington prison has been fined for allegedly serious asbestos regulation violations. The McNeil Island State Prison in Washington has been fined nearly twenty five thousand dollars by the Washington Department of Labor and Industries. The prison has been accused of wilful and serious breaches of asbestos regulations by the authorities.
According to the report the asbestos violations by the prison resulted in around eight inmates, eight employees of the prison, and a flooring crew being exposed to potentially deadly asbestos dust and fibers. This was after supervisors forced the crew to pull up asbestos tiles cemented with asbestos despite objections from staff members and inmates.
Furthermore, the report claims that those exposed to the asbestos were not provided with any masks or protective gear, putting them at increased risk of health problems from asbestos exposure. Prison officials have said that they did not realise that asbestos regulations applied to the work that was carried out. However, two of the supervisors have certification to handle asbestos and therefore should have been aware of how it had to be handled.
The report suggests that some of the inmates that ended up being exposed to asbestos as a result of the project seemed to be more aware of the dangers than the supervisors. However, the report said that the inmates had no means by which to protect themselves, although the supervisors involved have not been disciplined over the problem.
The penalties imposed over the incident have been appealed by the Department of Corrections. Officials from the department have asked for a reduction in the severity of the violations, and have asked if some of the money that is to be paid in fines can be used to provide specialist training to minimise the risk of future violations.