OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
Region 6 News Release: OSHA-04-96-DAL
Mon, Feb. 23, 2004
Contact: Diana Petterson or Elizabeth Todd
Phone: (214) 767-4776, Ext. 222 or 221
BATON ROUGE -- A Lawrenceville, Ga.-based company's alleged failure to protect employees from the health hazards of asbestos at a Louisiana job site has resulted in citations and proposed penalties of $44,800 from the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Flint Construction Co. was cited for one alleged willful and four alleged serious health violations following an OSHA inspection that began Sept.17, 2003, at a site near French Settlement, La. The company, which has 225 employees, had 25 workers removing and replacing a petroleum pipeline with pipes wrapped in mastic paper made out of asbestos.
"Asbestos is a recognized health hazard, and employers have a responsibility to protect the health and safety of their workers," said Greg Honaker, OSHA area director in Baton Rouge. "Health standards clearly require protective equipment and other controls to prevent workers from being exposed to this potentially harmful substance."
The alleged willful violation was for failing to protect employees working around asbestos. The employer refused to provide respiratory protection and outer clothing to protect against the potential exposure to asbestos fibers even after bulk sampling revealed the presence of asbestos. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with intentional disregard of or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
The alleged serious violations were for failing to conduct an exposure assessment during an operation involving the removal of asbestos, failing to use work practices to control the potential spread of asbestos fibers, failing to institute a medical surveillance program for those employees engaged in removing asbestos containing materials and failing to designate a competent person to oversee implementing the requirements of the OSHA standard. A serious violation is cited when death or serious injury could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the Baton Rouge area director, or to 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 call OSHA's Baton Rouge area office at (225) 298-5458. OSHA's toll-free hotline number may be used to report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers. The number is 1-800-321-6742.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and illnesses, and protecting America's workers. In fiscal year 2003, OSHA conducted almost 40,000 inspections, and more than half focused on high-hazard industries. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at <http://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.
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