Tile Company Fined $261,000 for Silica Exposures

According to L&I inspectors, company employees were exposed to silica quartz dust at 3.4 times the permissible limit during stone slab grinding operations.

Wall to Wall Tile & Stone of Vancouver, Wash., has been fined $261,000 because employees were exposed to silica dust and other health hazards associated with stone slab grinding, the Washington state Department of Labor & Industries announced Dec. 22. L&I cited the company for seven "failure to abate" serious violations after its follow-up inspection found it had not corrected violations for which it was cited during November 2014.

According to L&I inspectors, company employees were exposed to silica quartz dust at 3.4 times the permissible limit during stone slab grinding operations.

The "failure to abate" violations included these:

  • Failing to use feasible controls to reduce employee exposure to silica dust — $40,500
  • Not developing a written respiratory protection program to protect employees from inhaling silica dust — $40,500
  • Failing to provide fit testing for workers required to wear full-face respirators — $40,500
  • Not providing effective training for employees who wear full-face respirators — $40,500
  • Not providing noise and hearing protection training to affected employees — $22,500
  • Not providing annual hearing tests for workers exposed to excess noise — $22,500
  • Failing to develop, implement, and maintain a written Hazard Communication program for employees using a variety of chemicals — $40,500

Wall to Wall Tile & Stone also was cited for two "failure to abate" general violations, each with a penalty of $2,700, for not providing medical evaluations for employees who wear full-face respirators and for not creating a list of chemicals used in the workplace, and was cited for two serious violations involving respiratory protection that were not associated with the 2014 inspection.

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