US Labor Department's OSHA cites Albin Carlson & Co. of Addison, Ill., for
exposing workers to lead at Chicago job site; fines total more than $180,000
CHICAGO – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Albin Carlson & Co., a road and bridge construction company in Addison, Ill., with eight health, including two willful, violations, for failing to protect workers from lead exposure while performing torch cutting on a steel structure. The employer faces proposed penalties totaling $180,180 as a result of an OSHA investigation conducted in December 2010 at a job site in Chicago.
"This company was aware that employees were conducting torch cutting on a steel structure coated with lead-based paint and failed to ensure that a respiratory protection plan was in use on the job site. That is unacceptable," said Michael Connors, OSHA's regional director in Chicago. "Employers are responsible for knowing what hazards exist on their job sites and ensuring that workers are not exposed to risks that could result in injury or death."
The willful violations with penalties of $138,600 include failing to provide appropriate interim respiratory protection and ensure workers' exposure to lead did not exceed permissible daily limits. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
Six serious violations with penalties of $41,580 include failing to implement a respiratory protection program; implement a compliance program to limit employee exposure to lead; conduct initial monitoring for lead; provide personal work clothing for interim protection from lead exposure; and provide adequate hand-washing and shower facilities. 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.
The investigation was initiated under an OSHA national emphasis program on lead. Albin Carlson and Co. had been inspected by OSHA 13 previous times in the past five years.
This investigation falls under the requirements of OSHA's Severe Violators Enforcement Program. Initiated in 2010, SVEP is intended to focus on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. For more information on the program, visit http://www.osha.gov/dep/svep-directive.pdf*.
Albin Carlson & Co. has 15 business days from receipt of its 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. Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA's Calumet City Area Office at 708-891-3800. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
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.
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