OSHA Cites New York Asbestos Removal Company For Serious Workplace Safety Violations
Federal work safety regulators have cited a New York asbestos removal contractor for eight alleged serious violations of workplace safety standards at a Buffalo, New York worksite.
Inspectors from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that employees of Aria Contracting Corp., of Orchard Park, N.Y., were not wearing respiratory protection as they removed asbestos and asbestos-containing materials from a former warehouse. OSHA inspectors also said the workers were wearing ripped and torn protective suits, that no initial monitoring was done to determine airborne concentrations of asbestos and no barriers had been erected over openings where asbestos removal work was underway. Workers had not been adequately trained about the hazards of asbestos, OSHA said.
While asbestos is no long widely used, it remains present in many older buildings and houses. Workers involved in construction work including demolition, remodeling and asbestos removal have an elevated occupational risk of exposure to airborne asbestos fibers because of their jobs. Ripping out asbestos-containing building materials such as ceiling tiles or insulation during remodeling, renovation or asbestos removal projects can release microscopic asbestos fibers into the air, allowing them to be inhaled if workers are not properly trained and wearing respiratory protection.
Asbestos fibers may lodge deep in the chest cavity and cause inflammation that eventually leads to respiratory disease. Mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer of the lining of the lung, is closely associated with asbestos exposure.
“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 that 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. The company has denied that any violations occurred, according to OSHA.
Approximately, 2,500 to 3,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year. Most are older workers, retired workers and veterans who were exposed to asbestos in a workplace or during military service.
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