OSHAOSHA has cited the University of Rochester Strong Memorial Hospital and DGA Builders LLC, both of Rochester, for 14 serious violations of workplace safety and health standards, chiefly involving asbestos. The companies face a combined total of $53,200 in proposed fines, following an inspection.

The hospital had contracted DGA Builders to perform demolition/renovation work at a location where asbestos-containing material was present. OSHA's inspection found that, prior to the start of work, the hospital did not determine the presence, location and quantity of asbestos-containing materials in the work area and did not label such materials and post warning signs.

Lack of training, respiratory protection

In addition, both the hospital and DGA failed to provide proper asbestos exposure monitoring, implement adequate engineering and work practice controls to limit exposure levels, provide adequate training for workers, implement a respiratory protection program and inform other contractors of the presence of the materials, as well as requirements and protective measures for workers.

Workers at risk

"This is a situation that could have been avoided if the proper protective steps had been taken at the onset of the job," said Art Dube, OSHA's area director in Buffalo. "In failing to do so, both employers put workers at risk of asbestos exposure."

As a result, OSHA issued eight serious citations to the hospital, with $40,000 in fines, while DGA Builders was issued six serious citations with $13,200 in fines. 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.

"To prevent incidents like this from occurring, employers should implement an effective illness and injury prevention program in which they will work with their employees to identify, address and eliminate hazards before they harm workers," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.