US Labor Department's OSHA cites Rochester, NY, hospital and contractor
for a combined 14 serious violations, chiefly concerning asbestos
University of Rochester hospital and DGA Builders LLC face more than $53,000 in fines
BUFFALO, N.Y. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited the University of Rochester Strong Memorial Hospital and DGA Builders LLC, both of Rochester, for 14 serious violations of workplace safety and health standards, chiefly involving asbestos. The companies face a combined total of $53,200 in proposed fines, following inspections by OSHA's Buffalo Area Office begun April 18 in response to a complaint.
The hospital had contracted DGA Builders to perform demolition/renovation work at a location where asbestos-containing material was present. OSHA's inspection found that, prior to the start of work, the hospital did not determine the presence, location and quantity of asbestos-containing materials in the work area and did not label such materials and post warning signs.
In addition, both the hospital and DGA failed to provide proper asbestos exposure monitoring, implement adequate engineering and work practice controls to limit exposure levels, provide adequate training for workers, implement a respiratory protection program and inform other contractors of the presence of the materials, as well as requirements and protective measures for workers.
"This is a situation that could have been avoided if the proper protective steps had been taken at the onset of the job," said Art Dube, OSHA's area director in Buffalo. "In failing to do so, both employers put workers at risk of asbestos exposure."
As a result, OSHA issued eight serious citations to the hospital, with $40,000 in fines, while DGA Builders was issued six serious citations with $13,200 in fines. 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.
"To prevent incidents like this from occurring, employers should implement an effective illness and injury prevention program in which they will work with their employees to identify, address and eliminate hazards before they harm workers," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.
Each employer has15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before 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.
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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.