Region 2 News Release
Mon., Nov. 30, 2009
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
US Labor Department's OSHA proposes $484,000 in penalties against Cambria Contracting Inc. for asbestos hazards at Buffalo, NY, jobsite
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today issued citations to Cambria Contracting Inc. for 11 alleged willful violations of the OSHA construction asbestos standard for failing to train and protect its workers at a Buffalo jobsite. The Lockport, N.Y., demolition contractor faces a total of $484,000 in proposed penalties.
"These significant penalties reflect the fact that this employer, an asbestos contractor with extensive knowledge of the OSHA standards that govern asbestos removal and handling, chose not to follow these standards and put its workers, including young, inexperienced college students, in harm's way," said acting Assistant Secretary for OSHA Jordan Barab.
OSHA found that several Cambria Contracting workers, who were cleaning up debris at the former AM&A department store warehouse on Washington Avenue, had not been trained in asbestos hazards and how to protect themselves. The workers also lacked proper respirators and protective clothing, and had not been informed of the presence of asbestos at the site. In addition, the employer failed to determine the asbestos exposure level and to establish a regulated work area for asbestos removal and handling. It also did not use vacuums with HEPA filters to collect debris but used methods to move debris with asbestos-containing material that typically can cause asbestos to be released into the air.
OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for worker safety and health.
"This employer knew that training and other safeguards, which are well-known in the industry, were required, yet chose not to provide them," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's New York regional administrator. "That is unacceptable and needlessly placed the health of these workers at risk."
"Asbestos is well recognized as a health hazard since inhalation of asbestos fibers may lead to lung cancer and other diseases," said Arthur Dube, OSHA's Buffalo area director. "As exposures frequently occur during renovation and demolition work, we strongly urge contractors to ensure that their workers are adequately trained and protected against asbestos hazards."
Detailed information on asbestos is available on OSHA's Web site at: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/asbestos/index.html and http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/asbestos/construction.html.
Cambria Contracting has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Buffalo Area Office; telephone 716-551-3053.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, OSHA's role is to promote safe and healthful working conditions for America's men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, outreach and education. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.