US Labor Department's OSHA cites Johnson Controls with 5 health
violations involving asbestos work at Kankakee, Ill., job site
KANKAKEE, Ill. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Johnson Controls Inc. for five health violations at a facility in Kankakee owned by AT&T Inc., including one repeat violation for failing to implement a training program for employees performing Class II asbestos work. OSHA initiated an inspection upon receiving a complaint alleging hazards. Proposed fines total $59,400.
"Johnson Controls has a responsibility to provide training and safety equipment such as respirators to workers tasked with performing asbestos work," said Gary Anderson, director of OSHA's Calumet City Area Office. "Repeat violations demonstrate a lack of commitment to worker safety and health. OSHA is committed to protecting workers on the job, especially when employers fail to do so."
A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. In 2007, Johnson Controls was cited for failing to train workers performing asbestos removal at a job site in Orland Park.
Also cited are four serious violations related to Class II asbestos work. These include failing to perform air monitoring and conduct exposure assessments; use appropriate engineering controls and work practices, including having a competent person supervising the work; establish barriers or using impermeable drop cloths; require employees to wear appropriate respirators and use protective clothing; and properly dispose of material containing asbestos. 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.
More information on evaluating and removing asbestos is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/asbestos.
Milwaukee, Wis.-based Johnson Controls Inc. serves building and automotive industries in more than 150 countries and employs more than 160,000 workers. In 2011, OSHA cited the company's Texas and North Carolina plants for multiple violations with proposed penalties exceeding $100,000 in each case.
Johnson Controls Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of its current 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.
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 Calumet City office at 708-891-3800.
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 or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.