Region 2 News Release: 06-686-NEW/BOS 2006-105
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074
Asbestos Hazards at Hamburg Roof Collapse Cleanup Site Bring $91,000 in OSHA Fines to Four Western New York Employers
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited four western New York employers for allegedly failing to safeguard workers against asbestos hazards during cleanup and repair operations following a November roof collapse at the Leisureland bowling and restaurant complex in Hamburg, N.Y.
Cited were Clarence Wall & Ceiling Inc., a Clarence, N.Y., framing contractor, and Contour Erection & Siding Systems, an Eden, N.Y., structural steel contractor, both of which performed the repair and cleanup work; Cambio Sales Inc., of Hamburg, operator of the bowling lanes and restaurant; and A-Tehebi Corp., of Hamburg, owner of the property. The four employers face a combined total of $91,000 in proposed penalties.
"The surfacing materials for the roof's underside contained asbestos which was released into the air and throughout the worksite when the roof collapsed," said Arthur Dube, OSHA's area director for western New York. "This meant that the employers had a duty to protect their workers against asbestos exposure. However, none of the necessary protective measures were taken at this site."
OSHA's inspection found that Clarence and Contour did not determine the presence, location and quantity of asbestos before beginning work and then did not inform other employees on site about the asbestos. They also failed to conduct the work in a regulated area, establish a decontamination area, monitor employee exposures and use approved asbestos control methods. In addition, the companies failed to provide respirators and protective clothing, train employees, equip saws with HEPA filters, promptly and properly dispose of asbestos debris and contaminated clothing, and have the work overseen by a competent person. Clarence also failed to fit-test respirators and provide workers with medical evaluations to determine their fitness to wear respirators.
As a result, Clarence received 15 serious citations with $45,000 in proposed fines, while Contour received 14 serious citations with $42,000 in fines. A-Tehebi was fined $1,500 and issued two serious citations for not initially determining the presence, location and quantity of asbestos on the property and not identifying any asbestos-containing materials. Cambio was issued two serious citations and fined $2,500, for not determining the presence, location and quantity of asbestos in its work areas and not providing housekeepers with asbestos awareness training.
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. Each 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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