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Region 3 News Release: III-02-08-08-098-PA
Fri., June 14, 2002
Contact: Leni Uddyback-Fortson
Phone: (215) 861-5102
PARSIPPANY, N.J. -- Failure to protect employees from exposure to asbestos may cost a firm that operates apartment buildings in Newark up to $115,500 in fines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The limited liability partnership, 515 Associates, LLC, owns and operates two multi-tenant apartment buildings in Newark. OSHA cited the firm for 21 serious and two willful violations of safety and health standards following its investigation of a December furnace explosion in one of its buildings. The blast caused asbestos to spew throughout the structure's basement, exposing building employees to the hazardous substance.
According to OSHA Area Director, David Ippolito, the inspection began Dec. 18, following a referral from the Newark Fire Department.
OSHA alleges the employer willfully violated OSHA standards by failing to use engineering controls or work practices in all operations involving asbestos, failing to train employees who perform housekeeping operations, and failing to institute a training program for all employees performing Class I through IV asbestos work. The willful violations carry a total proposed penalty of $70,000.
"The willful nature of the violations is unmistakable," Ippolito said. "Despite numerous requests from its employees, the employer failed to take adequate measures to protect them from the hazards of airborne asbestos."
A willful violation is defined by OSHA as one committed with intentional disregard for, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
The serious citations carry a total proposed penalty of $45,500 for alleged violations related to the asbestos exposure and other hazards. A serious violation is defined as a condition where there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result.
The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Parsippany, N.J. office, 299 Cherry Hill Rd., Suite 304, telephone (973) 263-1003.
The firm has until July 8 to contest OSHA's citations. A summary of the serious citations is attached.
U.S. Labor Department news releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this release will be made available in alternative format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call 202-693-7773 or TTY 202-693-7755.
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