Buffalo, New York – The United States Labor Department’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration or OSHA has cited DGA Builders and Rochester University Strong Memorial Hospital, both of Rochester (Monroe County, New York), for 14 serious workspace safety & health standards violations, mainly involving asbestos, a mineral that is notorious for causing a deadly cancer known as malignant mesothelioma. The companies are facing $53200 in total proposed fines. The companies were cited for asbestos violations after an inspection conducted by the Buffalo Area Office of OSHA which started on 18th April. The agency was responding to a complaint they had received.
Strong hospital had hired DGA Builders for performing renovation/demolition work at a site where materials containing asbestos were present. The inspection conducted by OSHA discovered that, before starting the work, Strong hospital didn’t check for the presence, amount and location of asbestos materials in the work site and didn’t label such substances as well as post warning signs.
Additionally, both the DGA and the hospital failed to perform adequate monitoring of asbestos exposure, implement proper engineering as well as work practice controls for limiting asbestos exposure levels. Additionally, the defendants failed: to provide its workers with proper training; to implement a proper respiratory protection plan; and to inform the other contractors regarding the presence of asbestos-containing materials and about the requirements safety measures for the workers, according to OSHA’s website.
Art Dube, the Buffalo area director of OSHA, said that the situation could’ve been definitely avoided if the hospital had taken proper protective actions at the job’s onset. By failing to do that, both the defendants put their workers at the risk of exposure to asbestos fibres, Dube said. Consequently, OSHA cited the hospital for 8 serious violations, with a fine of $40000. 6 serious citations were issued to DGA Builders, with a fine of $13200. According to OSHA, a serious violation takes place if there is a significant possibility that severe physical injury or death could be caused by a danger which the employer should’ve known.
Robert Kulick, the regional administrator of OSHA in the state of New York, said employers must implement an efficient injury & illness prevention program which should require them to work with the employees for identifying address and eliminating dangers before they affect workers.
The defendants have fifteen business days from the day they received the citations as well as the proposed fines to appeal the findings.