OSHA cites employer for lack of asbestos safeguards at worksite (10/7)
The contractor faces a total of $50,000 in fines for not providing all required safeguards for its employees who were exposed to asbestos-containing pipe insulation during a residential remodeling job.
"This employer should have taken steps to identify and measure the level of asbestos, provide workers with proper respirators and protective clothing, and properly clean up and dispose of asbestos-containing and potentially asbestos-containing debris," said Arthur Dube, OSHA's area director in Buffalo. "Inhalation of asbestos fibers may lead to serious lung disease and other disorders, which makes it essential that effective protective measures be in place and in use whenever workers are exposed to asbestos on the job."
Specifically, OSHA found that Superior General Contracting did not monitor to determine asbestos exposure levels, use wet methods to clean up debris, provide HEPA vacuum cleaners to collect debris and dust, ensure the prompt cleanup and disposal of debris in leak-tight containers, ensure appropriate respirator use, require the use of protective clothing, perform all work in a regulated area, provide employees with appropriate training, and assure that the work was overseen by a competent person with the knowledge and authority to identify and abate hazards.
"One means of preventing hazards such as these is to implement an effective safety and health management system so that employers and employees are working together to proactively assess, identify and eliminate hazardous conditions," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.
Superior General Contracting has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.
The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Buffalo Area Office; telephone 716-551-3053.