September 25, 2019
U.S. Department of Labor Cites Upstate New York Contractor
For Health and Safety Hazards During Asbestos Removal Work
BUFFALO, NY – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Rex Harper – doing business as REH Property Maintenance – for improper asbestos removal and disposal at Superior Steel Door & Trim Co. Inc. in Jamestown, New York. Harper faces a total of $168,772 in proposed penalties.
Superior Steel Door & Trim Co. Inc. had contracted with Harper for the removal of asbestos from piping. OSHA inspectors determined that Harper failed to protect employees from exposure to asbestos; perform asbestos work in a regulated area, with proper barriers, ventilation, and enclosures; use proper engineering controls and work practices; clean up and dispose of asbestos materials; launder and transport protective clothing; and implement respiratory protection and asbestos training programs for employees.
OSHA cited Superior Steel Door & Trim Co. Inc. for failing to determine the presence, location, and quantity of asbestos-containing materials; develop and implement a chemical hazard communication program; and for a fall hazard involving a forklift. Proposed penalties total $12,124. The citations for both companies can be viewed here.
"Asbestos is a known human carcinogen and can cause chronic lung disease, lung cancer, and other cancers," said OSHA’s Buffalo Area Director Michael Scime. "Employers are legally obligated to comply with OSHA standards on toxic and hazardous substances to ensure workers are protected from exposure."
Information about safe handling of asbestos is available at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/asbestos/index.html.
Each company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Harper failed to respond to the citations and did not request an informal conference or submit a letter of contest prior to their last day of the contest period. As a result, Harper’s citations became a final order.
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 help 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 https://www.osha.gov.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.
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Release Number: 19-1442-NEW/BOS 2019-143
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