Contractor Faces $50K in Fines for Lack of Asbestos Safeguards

OSHA has cited Superior General Contracting of Cheektowaga, N.Y., for 10 alleged serious violations of workplace health standards at a jobsite in Amherst, N.Y. The contractor faces a total of $50,000 in fines for not providing all required safeguards for its employees who the agency says were exposed to asbestos-containing pipe insulation during a residential remodeling job.

Specifically, OSHA found that the company 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 ensure that the work was overseen by a competent person with the knowledge and authority to identify and abate hazards.

"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, N.Y. "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."

The company 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. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Buffalo Area Office. Detailed information on asbestos is available on OSHA's Web site at: www.osha.gov/SLTC/asbestos/index.html and www.osha.gov/SLTC/asbestos/construction.html.

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