Illinois Firm Fined $1.2 Million in Asbestos Case

OSHA cited AMD Industries Inc. of Cicero for 19 allegedly willful and eight allegedly serious violations after inspecting its facilities at the request of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

One of the biggest OSHA fines of the year, $1, 247,400, has been issued this week to AMD Industries Inc. of Cicero, Ill., in a Severe Violators Enforcement Program case involving "unprotected and untrained workers" assigned to remove asbestos, OSHA announced May 24. The citations signed by Gary J. Anderson, OSHA area director in Calumet City, Ill., say the violations allegedly occurred from Nov. 29 through Dec. 10, 2010, at 4620 W. 19th St. in Cicero as the workers were conducting Class 1 asbestos abatement of pipe insulation and thermal system insulation that contained from 20 to 50 percent chrysotile asbestos.

The workers "were not protected from exposure by use of the following control methods: local exhaust ventilation, enclosure or isolation, and/or ventilation of the regulated area," a respiratory protection program was not implemented, and a competent person was not supervising the work, the citations state. They state that asbestos-containing materials were cut with a reciprocating saw and collected with dry sweeping, which exposed the workers. They also state that the material was not disposed of in sealed, impermeable bags or closed and labeled containers.

OSHA said it conducted the inspection in response to a referral from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, which also asked the Illinois Attorney General’s Office to take enforcement action to compel the proper removal, handling, and disposal of asbestos-containing material.

"Asbestos exposure can be deadly," OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels said. "AMD Industries knew it was assigning workers to asbestos removal work and failed to take the most basic safety precautions. This employer did not provide protective respirators or even warn the workers of the risk to their health from removing the material."

Fifteen willful citations carry proposed penalties of $945,000 for alleged failure to provide proper training, protective clothing, and equipment. Four more willful citations with $252,000 in fines are for alleged failures to identify or inform workers of the location and quantity of asbestos; monitor airborne concentrations of asbestos; use high-efficiency particulate air vacuums and wet methods to control the dust; and promptly and properly dispose of asbestos-contaminated waste. Eight serious citations, with proposed fines of $50,400, are for the alleged lack of a respiratory protection program; failing to use engineering controls and work practices for Class I asbestos work; not conducting asbestos work in regulated areas; and failing to provide hygiene facilities for workers removing the material.

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