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DuraLabel's Weekly Safety News

Blog Author Angelique Sanders

Weekly safety news. Stay in touch with regulations from OSHA, NFPA, and other safety codes. Find out about other companies' best and worst practices. We scour the internet to provide you with helpful training resources and the latest safety information.


Monday, April 07, 2014

OSHA Significant Citations - $2.3 Million Fine For Abestos Violations

OSHA defines a significant citation as one with more than $100,000 in proposed fines. An OSHA citation is a claim by OSHA that there has been a safety violation. It does not mean a violation has taken place, nor that the violation is as severe as claimed. The company has 15 days to contest OSHA claims. The following are the citations OSHA announced last week that have total fines of $100,000 or more.

Olivet Management Faces Fines For Asbestos ($2,300,000)


Company cited for knowingly exposing workers to asbestos and lead during the renovation of former Harlem Valley (NY) Psychiatric Center

Olivet Management LLC, a real estate development and management company that owns the former Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center in the Wingdale section of Dover Plains, N.Y., faces a total of $2,359,000 in proposed OSHA fines. The company has been cited for exposing its employees, as well as employees for 13 contractors, to asbestos and lead hazards during cleanup operations in preparation for a tour of the site by potential investors.

An inspection by OSHA’s Albany Area Office conducted in response to a complaint began October 23, 2013. The inspection found that Olivet employees and contractors were exposed to asbestos and lead while performing renovation and cleanup activities. The work, which was directed and overseen by Olivet supervisors, included removing:
  • asbestos- and lead-contaminated debris
  • asbestos-containing floor tiles and insulation
  • lead-containing paint from walls, windows, door frames and other painted surfaces.
OSHA determined that Olivet knowingly failed to take basic safety precautions. The company neither informed their own employees nor the contractors about the presence of asbestos and lead, despite knowing that both hazards existed. As a result, Olivet did not:
  • train employees in the hazards of asbestos and lead and the need and nature of required safeguards;
  • monitor workers’ exposure levels; 
  • provide appropriate respiratory protection; 
  • post notices, warning signs and labels to alert workers and contractors to the presence of asbestos and lead;
  • provide clean changing and decontamination areas for workers, many of whom wore their contaminated clothing home to households with small children.
As a result of these conditions, Olivet was cited for 45 willful violations, with $2,352,000 in proposed fines. Twenty-four of the willful citations address instance-by-instance exposure of workers to asbestos and lead hazards.

A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.

Olivet was also issued one serious citation, with a $7,000 fine, for failing to inform waste haulers of the presence of asbestos and asbestos-containing materials, meaning asbestos from the site may have been disposed of improperly at an unknown location. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The citations can be viewed at:
http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/OlivetManagementLLC945519.pdf.

Renovation and cleanup activities can generate airborne concentrations of asbestos and lead. Workers can be exposed to both through inhalation or ingestion. Exposure to asbestos can cause disabling or fatal diseases, such as asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma and gastrointestinal cancer. While lead exposure can cause damage to the nervous system, kidneys, blood forming organs, and reproductive system. Detailed information on asbestos and lead hazards and safeguards is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/asbestos/index.html and http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/lead/index.html respectively.

In January of this year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration ordered Olivet to stop all work that could disturb asbestos at the facility. EPA’s investigation is ongoing.

Due to the willful violations found at the site, Olivet has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer's facilities or job sites.


Related Past Posts:
OSHA Significant Citations
OSHA Significant Citations - Workers Exposed To Amputation Hazards
No OSHA Significant Citations Announced Last Week

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posted by Steve Hudgik
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