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April 11, 2021

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C-Tran appeals citations totaling $13,000 in fines

State classifies three of seven violations by agency as serious

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

C-Tran is appealing three citations from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries that amounted to $13,000 in fines.

The transit agency was cited for seven safety violations. Four were general violations and corrected during the inspection. The remaining three were serious violations; the agency was fined $3,000, $4,000 and $6,000, respectively.

L&I spokesman Tim Church said general violations are the state’s lowest level of penalty and typically do not carry fines.

Serious violations are midlevel and mean someone was put at risk for harm or death. A willful violation — which C-Tran didn’t get — is the highest penalty and means a company knew or should have known workers were put in danger.

“It’s not a small fine, but it’s on the lower end,” Church said of C-Tran’s penalty, adding that no injuries were associated with the fines. “They’ve had inspections a couple times since 2013, and this is the only inspection where they were cited.”

Church said fines can run as high as $450,000.

During an inspection of C-Tran’s facilities, L&I inspectors found that C-Tran’s new paint-mixing room didn’t have an operating ventilation system to withdraw vapors from flammable or combustible liquids. C-Tran was fined $3,000 and ordered to correct the issue by July 15.

L&I also found that C-Tran didn’t have accessible emergency eyewash in three different rooms where corrosive, strong irritant or toxic materials were handled. C-Tran corrected the issue during the inspection but was issued a $6,000 penalty.

L&I also found that C-Tran didn’t ensure employees used proper eye and face protection. During the inspection, some employees mixed paint and cleaned paint guns without being provided chemical safety goggles. For that violation, C-Tran was fined $4,000.

C-Tran spokeswoman Christine Selk said that the agency sent a letter appealing the three citations to L&I on Tuesday.

“We disagree with the findings of the inspection,” she said. “We definitely disagree with the fact there would be fines associated with those.”

Selk said C-Tran immediately ordered and installed the appropriate eyewash stations after the inspection.

She said other inspectors who visited C-Tran’s new maintenance facility during and after construction never brought up whether a ventilation fan was necessary in the mixing room.

Selk also said that C-Tran trains and issues all necessary equipment to employees who are going to be coming in contact with dangerous materials.

“We go above and beyond (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) requirements, train employees more often than they require,” she said.

C-Tran expects to hear back from L&I on its appeal in about a month.

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