A total of six companies in the Chicago area were fined this month for asbestos violations, federal officials report. The companies will have a few weeks to contest the charges.
According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), exposure to asbestos and other dangerous hazards occurred over the summer while work was being done the cafeteria at Chute Middle School, in Evanston, Illinois. A total of $132,000 in combined penalties await the companies who have been fined.
Per OSHA and the Illinois Department of Public Health, the companies that were fined didn’t require workers to wear the appropriate safety gear while working around asbestos. The companies also failed to take air samples to test for asbestos and failed to properly dispose of asbestos.
The companies that were penalized include:
- Nicholas & Associates Inc.
- F.E. Moran Inc.
- Environmental Services Firm Inc.
- DeKalb Mechanical Inc.
- ASAP Environmental Inc.
- B.B. Construction Enterprise Inc.
According to Angeline Loftus, the city director of OSHA’s Chicago North Area Office, along with civil fines, the aforementioned companies may also be in jeopardy of losing their business licenses.
“Exposure to asbestos is a dangerous workplace issue that can cause loss of lung function and cancer, among other serious health effects, and workers must be trained in procedures that minimize exposure,” said Loftus. “Workers should never be put at risk because a company failed to protect them from a known, dangerous substance.”
The OSHA report indicates that an an onsite asbestos inspection company, Environmental Services Firm, told F.E. Moran Inc. to get rid of a a 60-foot long pipe that had asbestos insulation. The report went on to indicate, however, that F.E. Moran Inc. had no plans in place to control asbestos outbreaks and exposure. In fact, the workers were cutting into the asbestos-filled piping without any safety protection. A total of 10 violations was given to the company, totaling over $47,000.
Environmental Services Firm Inc. received two different citations for failing to conduct required air sampling and failing to perform an initial asbestos assessment before any work began, resulting in fines equaling $4,000.
Meanwhile, Nicholas & Associates was fined for failing to ensure F.E. Morgan workers carried out the required safety precautions before cutting the piping, as well as electrical violations, resulting in $10,150 worth of penalties.
DeKalb Mechanical received four different violations stemming from various hazards. They face penalties of over $13,000. B.B. Construction Enterprise Inc. was given only one citation, equaling over $1,300, for failing to properly collect and dispose of asbestos.
OSHA indicates that the businesses have 15 days to answer to the citations. They are allowed these days if they want to contest the charges.
Keep in mind that if you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other illness due to asbestos exposure, you have the legal right to file for damages. For more information and for a free, confidential case consultation, contact our experienced mesothelioma attorneys today.