Region 2 News Release: 12-1015-NEW/BOS 2012-088
May 23, 2012
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
OSHA cites Orchard Park, NY, contractor, proposes $56,000 in fines
for asbestos hazards at Buffalo, NY, worksite
BUFFALO, N.Y. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Aria Contracting Corp., an Orchard Park asbestos removal contractor, for eight alleged serious violations of workplace safety standards at a Buffalo worksite. An inspection by OSHA's Buffalo Area Office found that Aria Contracting employees removing asbestos and asbestos-containing materials from a former warehouse located at 2925 Main St. were working in ripped and torn protective suits, and were not wearing respiratory protection.
OSHA also found the employees had not been adequately trained on asbestos hazards, the employer had not conducted an initial exposure monitoring to accurately determine the airborne concentrations of asbestos to which the workers were exposed, barriers had not been placed over all openings to the area where the work was being performed and a competent person had not ensured all proper safeguards were followed.
In addition to the asbestos hazards, an employee was exposed to a 30-foot fall while climbing from the elevated basket of a scissors lift into an opening on the building's third floor. Finally, the employer failed to make all required records available to OSHA for review.
"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 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 for these hazards. 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.
"A key means of preventing hazards such as these if for employers to establish and maintain effective health and safety programs in which they work with their employees to proactively identify and eliminate hazards before those can affect workers," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.
Detailed information on asbestos hazards and safeguards is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/asbestos/index.html and http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/asbestos/construction.html. Aria Contracting Corp. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the findings to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Buffalo office at 716-551-3053.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.