Dec. 3, 2014
OSHA investigation finds workers exposed to
lead-based paint while restoring Evanston, Illinois, home
Arturo's Painting & Restauration cited for 17 violations; $46,000 in fines proposed
EVANSTON, Ill. – U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors found employees at Arturo's Painting & Restauration Inc. being exposed to dangerous levels of lead-based paint while they manually scraped and power sanded a home exterior in Evanston without personal protective equipment. OSHA initiated an inspection of the company under the National Emphasis Program for Lead, which identified 17 serious safety violations for which the company was cited.
The May 19, 2014, inspection resulted in proposed penalties of $46,000. Lead exposure can cause long-term damage to the central nervous, urinary, blood and reproductive systems.
"Lead is a leading cause of workplace illness and a common health hazard. Lead particles travel from work sites on clothing and other materials, so taking precautions to prevent exposure are important for workers and their families," said Angie Loftus, OSHA's area director for Chicago North in Des Plaines.
OSHA's investigation found workers exposed to airborne lead levels up to 1.2 times the permissible exposure limit. OSHA identified lead, cadmium and arsenic during the inspection, and determined that Arturo's failed to train employees concerning hazards associated with exposure. The company also failed to determine employee exposure levels to lead before directing workers to remove paint with sanders and scrapers.
In addition, Arturo's failed to provide properly fitted respirators to protect workers from lead overexposure and training in respiratory protection use and procedures.
Other violations involved lack of personal protective equipment, including clothing and gloves; medical surveillance; hygiene and housekeeping practices. 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.
Arturo's 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.
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 Chicago North Area Office at 847-803-4800.
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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Release Number: 14-2100-CHI
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