Region 1 News Release: 06-569-NEW /BOS 2006-095
Monday, April 10, 2006
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074
OSHA Fines Webster, N.Y., Contractor $323,000 for Lead Exposure Hazards at SUNY Geneseo Worksite
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A Webster, N.Y., construction contractor, faces a total of $323,000 in proposed fines from the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for allegedly failing to protect its employees against lead exposure hazards at a worksite on the campus of the State University of New York at Geneseo.
Leo J. Roth Corp. was cited for a total of seven alleged willful and serious violations of workplace health standards following an OSHA inspection begun Oct. 25, 2005, in response to an employee complaint. At that time, Roth had been engaged for several weeks in the demolition and replacement of a lead-coated copper roof on Sturges Hall, a process that generated lead-containing dust.
OSHA's inspection found that Roth had not conducted initial monitoring to determine if the workers were exposed to airborne concentrations of lead at levels that would trigger protective measures. The company also had not provided the workers with interim safeguards, including respiratory protection, personal protective clothing, biological monitoring of blood lead levels, medical surveillance, training and hazard communication.
As a result, Roth received five willful citations with fines totaling $315,000. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
"Lead is a cumulative poison that can, over time, damage the body's blood, nervous, neurological and reproductive systems. When your employees work with lead, you must always assume exposure unless or until monitoring proves otherwise," said Arthur Dube, OSHA's area director for western New York. "This employer knew the initial monitoring and interim safeguards were required to protect the workers, yet apparently elected to ignore them."
The company also failed to collect personal exposure samples and had an incomplete lead compliance program. These violations resulted in two serious citations with $8,000 in fines. A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm are likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Buffalo area office, telephone (716) 551-3053.
Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
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