US Labor Department's OSHA cites American Masonry in Chicago
for exposing workers to lead dust, proposes $196,000 in fines
CHICAGO – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Waclaw Cilulko, doing business as American Masonry Inc., for seven alleged willful health violations of OSHA's lead standards. An inspection of a commercial building site in Chicago that houses several art studios found workers exposed to excessive amounts of lead during sandblasting operations. Proposed penalties total $196,000.
"When employers such as American Masonry knowingly ignore health requirements, they are unduly placing their workers at risk for illnesses, and that is unacceptable," said Nick Walters, OSHA's regional administrator in Chicago. "Lead exposure can cause serious neurological damage, among other illnesses."
The violations involve failing to implement a written lead compliance program, provide personal protective equipment, provide clean changing rooms or separate storage facilities for protective work clothing to prevent cross-contamination with street clothes, and vacuum and remove lead dust from the work site. The company also has been cited for failing to implement a medical surveillance program for all employees exposed to lead that includes initial monitoring and biological monitoring such as blood sampling, as well as failing to implement a respirator protection program that includes fit testing and training. 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.
The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/WaclawCilulko_dba_AmericanMasonry_422863_1106_12.pdf*.
Chicago-based American Masonry Inc. performs masonry repair and stone setting. Waclaw Cilulko operates several similar companies in the Chicago area that have undergone 39 OSHA inspections since 1978, resulting in 137 cited violations. The companies operate as American Masonry Concepts Inc., American Masonry & Supply Inc., America's Best Masonry Inc., All American Masonry Inc., and American Masonry & Stucco Inc. The 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.
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 or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.