Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Attorney General Charges Asbestos Training Company for False Certifications

Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed multiple chargers against Environmental Management Training Services LLC in Tacoma, Washington for substandard asbestos training. The two business owners pleaded guilty in Pierce County Superior Court for selling substandard asbestos worker training courses and false certifications. Timothy Pinckney and Pamela Pepper pleaded to charges including forgery, false statements, and official misconduct by a notary public.

From 2010 to 2013, EMT LLC charged feeds to students for asbestos training but then failed to provide the required training, and in some cases, did not provide training at all. They gave false certifications to students who would work for employers and state regulators. Pinckney cut some classes short, provided answers to examinations, or given certificates to students who failed the course or did not show up. The students and employers were charged full price for the training.

Attorney Ferguson said: "Substandard and fraudulent training of asbestos workers poses an obvious and substantial risk to public health and safety. This is exactly the type of misconduct my environmental crimes team seeks to deter."

False certifications are especially dangerous as asbestos is a deadly material. If it is not properly contained, it can affect anyone who breathes it in. Asbestos can cause cancer, lung disease, and various other illnesses. Certified asbestos workers are carefully trained to remove asbestos, avoid creating airborne debris, and safely contain it.

All asbestos workers are required to complete 32 hours of training and refresher courses. Each state has its own regulations and prerequisites for asbestos work. Asbestos training courses include lectures from an instructor, demonstrations, hands-on training, and respirator fit testing. All students must pass an in-class examinations, and in some states, students must also pass a 3rd-party state examination. If a student did not receive proper training, they may harm themselves or the public by releasing asbestos into the air and inhaling it. Asbestos can cause various diseases for those who have long-term exposure such as asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.

Tyler Among, Special Agent-in-Charge of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division in Seattle commented: "This case, at its heart, is about a violation of the public's trust. People expect that when they hire a professional to performa a service... they are in good hands. In this case, unscrupulous business owners knowingly put the health and safety of both their students and the unsuspecting public at risk."

While the investigation is still ongoing, Pinckney was sentenced to four months confinement and his asbestos teaching credentials were revoked. Pepper was sentenced to two months confinement and her notary license was revoked.

Anyone working with asbestos must attend training courses and attend annual refreshers. Each state has their own asbestos regulations. Stay up to date with your asbestos credentials by registering for a course with GreenEDU. Register for a course here: https://www.greenedu.com/asbestos-certification