U.S. Department of Labor Cites Three Employers at Missouri Residential Care Facility
OSHA claims three companies did not take the proper steps to contain potential residue containing asbestos.
- By Shereen Hashem
- Jul 21, 2021
A federal workplace safety inspection alleges that three employers at a Missouri residential nursing facility exposed workers and residents to asbestos hazards. The inspection reveals that the employers failed to remove the carcinogen during the floor replacement. In January 2021, OSHA conducted an inspection at Bentonview Park Health & Rehabilitation in St. Monett when referred by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. On January 22, the state agency evacuated the facility—31 days after flooring work began on December 21, 2020.
According to a press release, OSHA alleges Eastern Coast Management Inc., SRZ Mgmt Holdings LLC and SRZ OP Bentonview LLC failed to test for the presence of asbestos, did not use protective barriers to contain residue and failed to use respiratory and PPE to prevent exposure. Bulk samples of “tile backing” and “mastic” collected at three locations in the facility indicated that between 45 and 51 percent of the samples contained chrysotile asbestos. OSHA inspectors claim that workers for the three employers removed about 10,000 square feet of floor tiles containing asbestos. None of the employers completed an asbestos assessment to determine its presence.
“Asbestos is a known human carcinogen released into the air when asbestos-containing materials are removed. Exposure to its fibers can cause irreversible lung damage, which is often undetected for years,” said OSHA Area Director Karena Lorek in Kansas City, Missouri. “Employers must test building materials before removal and ensure all measures are taken to prevent exposure.”
“On multi-employer projects such as this, each employer must ensure workers are safe from potential hazards. When they fail to do so, the U.S. Department of Labor will hold them accountable under the law,” Lorek added.
Included in the press release, these are the additional violations and penalties proposed against each company:
- Eastern Coast Management Inc., the project’s lead contractor, faces proposed penalties of $105,127 for 11 serious violations. SRZ Op Holdings LLC, the facility’s owner, hired the Woodmere, New York, company to remove and replace the flooring.
- SRZ Mgmt Holdings LLC of Jefferson City faces proposed penalties of $95,570 for 10 serious violations. Investigators determined the company’s regional director of operations removed flooring and used removal equipment and scrapers to keep the project moving in the lead contractor’s absence. The company assigns managers to the Bentonville facility.
- SRZ OP Bentonview LLC, which operates as Bentonview Park Health and Rehabilitation, faces $38,228 in proposed penalties for four serious violations. As the facility’s manager, the company had responsibility for protecting its employees and other workers in the rehabilitation facility from potential respiratory hazards
The three companies have 15 days from receipt of citations and penalties to request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the OSHRC. View the citations issued to the three employers here.
Shereen Hashem is the Associate Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety magazine.