A New York asbestos removal contractor allowed inadequately trained workers to remove asbestos while wearing ripped and torn protective suits and no respiratory protection.
That was the finding of OSHA inspectors, who cited Orchard Park-based Aria Contracting Corp. for eight alleged serious violations of workplace safety standards at a Buffalo worksite.
OSHA also found that the employer had not conducted an initial exposure monitoring to accurately determine the airborne concentrations of asbestos to which the workers were exposed, barriers had not been placed over all openings to the area where the work was being performed and a competent person had not ensured all proper safeguards were followed.
In addition to the asbestos hazards, an employee was exposed to a 30-foot fall while climbing from the elevated basket of a scissors lift into an opening on the building's third floor. Finally, the employer failed to make all required records available to OSHA for review.
"Inhalation of asbestos fibers by workers may lead to lung disease and other disorders," said Arthur Dube, OSHA's area director in Buffalo. "That is why it is essential effective protective measures, including proper protective gear and adequate and effective employee training, be in place and in use whenever necessary."
As a result of its findings, OSHA has proposed a total of $56,000 in fines against Aria Contracting for these hazards. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Detailed information on asbestos hazards and safeguards is available online at www.osha.gov/SLTC/asbestos/index.html and www.osha.gov/SLTC/asbestos/construction.html.