Dec. 31, 2007
Contact: Diana Petterson or Elizabeth Todd
Phone: 214-767-4776, ext. 222 or 221
WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Balfour Beatty Construction LLC, a general construction contractor based in the U.K., and C.F. Jordan LP, a general and utility construction contractor based in El Paso, Texas, with 12 safety violations for asbestos exposure at a military housing construction site at the federal White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
OSHA began an inspection July 21 after receiving a referral from the New Mexico Environment Department alleging employees were removing underground concrete pipe containing asbestos from a military housing site without using appropriate protective clothing or a protective enclosure to contain the airborne asbestos.
"The inspection revealed that the two companies failed to take appropriate action to protect their employees," said Rich Tapio, OSHA's area director in Lubbock, Texas. "Employers must remain committed to keeping the workplace safe and healthful at all times."
OSHA has cited Balfour Beatty Construction, proposing $179,000 in fines, for three alleged willful and two alleged serious violations. The willful violations are for failing to assure that C.F. Jordan, the subcontractor, was in compliance with OSHA's asbestos standards; to conduct an assessment of asbestos operations; and to have a competent person oversee work involving asbestos. The serious violations include failing to label asbestos-containing materials and to store excavated asbestos in closed, covered containers.
OSHA has cited C.F. Jordan with $145,000 in proposed fines for two alleged willful and five alleged serious violations of its asbestos standards. The willful violations are for failing to conduct an assessment of asbestos operations and to provide protective clothing to employees handling asbestos. The serious violations include failing to establish a restricted area where asbestos operations would be conducted; failing to conduct air monitoring for asbestos; allowing prohibited work practices; failing to train employees handling asbestos; and failing to provide a competent person to properly supervise the work area.
A willful violation is one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health. A serious violation exists when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
The companies have 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Lubbock, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Employers and employees with questions about workplace safety and health can contact OSHA's Lubbock Area Office at 806-472-7681. A toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742 may be used to report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to employees.
OSHA operates a vigorous enforcement program, conducting more than 39,000 inspections in fiscal year 2007 and exceeding its inspection goals in each of the last eight years. In fiscal year 2007, OSHA found nearly 89,000 violations of its standards and regulations.
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 assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit 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 upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The U.S. Department of Labor 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.