OSHA has fined a painting contractor $106,800 for failing to protect employees removing lead-based paint from an apartment project in Pittsburgh. Mike McGarry and Sons Inc., of Cleveland, Ohio, was cited for 12 alleged willful, serious and other-than-serious violations of workplace safety and health regulations following an OSHA inspection at the Heinz Loft Apartment project that began in February.

The willful citations, which account for $96,000 of the proposed penalty, concern the employer's failure to conduct a proper exposure assessment, lack of hand-washing facility and a change area for lead contaminated clothing, and not providing biological monitoring for employees exposed to lead.

The serious violations, with a proposed penalty of $9,000 address the company's failure to equip employees with powered air-purifying respirators; not providing protective clothing; not having an updated lead compliance plan; failure to utilize HEPA filtered vacuums to clean up lead debris; and lack of proper lead training to exposed employees.

The other-than-serious violations, which carry a penalty of $1,800, concern the failure to provide exposure monitoring results to employees; failure to establish and maintain accurate medical surveillance records and not establishing an accurate record of all lead monitoring dates.

"OSHA lead standards require employers to take steps to minimize exposure levels," said Robert Szymanski, OSHA's area director in Pittsburgh. "This company is well aware of the hazards and their failure to comply at the jobsite is unacceptable."

The company has 15 working days to contest the citations before the Independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.