Region 5 News Release: 11-1561-CHI
Nov. 4, 2011
Contact: Scott Allen Rhonda Burke
Phone: 312-353-6976 312-353-6976
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
US Labor Department's OSHA cites 2 Chicago construction
companies for exposing workers to asbestos hazards
More than $280,000 in fines proposed for willful and serious violations
CHICAGO – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited two Chicago companies, T2 G.C. LLC, which operates as T2 Construction, and Gramek Construction Inc. for failing to protect workers from asbestos hazards at a job site in May. T2 Construction faces proposed fines of $141,600 and Gramek Construction faces proposed fines of $138,600, for a combined total of $280,200.
T2 Construction was the general contractor at the Chicago job site, which involved a 90-year-old, 80,000-square-foot building. T2 oversaw the activities of demolition contractor Gramek Construction, including the removal of floor tile and pipe insulation that allegedly contained asbestos.
"Failing to conduct an asbestos assessment and require workers to wear personal protective equipment when working with material potentially contaminated by asbestos shows a blatant disregard for their health and safety," said OSHA Regional Administrator Michael Connors in Chicago. "Safe and healthful working conditions should be paramount on every job site, and OSHA is committed to protecting workers, especially when employers fail to do so."
T2 Construction was cited for two willful health violations including failing to have a competent person conduct an initial assessment prior to commencing Class I and Class II asbestos work, and failing to ensure compliance with the asbestos standard as the general contractor. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement or plain indifference to employee safety and health.
Additionally, T2 Construction was cited for 14 serious violations involving asbestos control procedures, such as failing to conduct air and exposure monitoring, failing to follow specific engineering controls and practices, failing to remove tile intact, allowing dry sweeping of dust and residue, failing to provide hygiene facilities for workers conducting asbestos removal and failing to ensure that employees wore adequate personal protective clothing while performing asbestos work. 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.
Gramek Construction was cited for one willful health violation for failing to have a competent person conduct an initial assessment prior to commencing Class I and Class II asbestos work. The company also was cited for 24 serious health and safety violations, 18 of which involved violations of asbestos control procedures such as failing to conduct air and exposure monitoring, failing to follow specific engineering controls and practices, allowing dry sweeping of dust and residue, failing to implement a respiratory protection program, failing to provide hygiene facilities for workers conducting asbestos removal and failing to ensure that employees wore adequate personal protective clothing for asbestos work. The remaining six serious safety violations were cited for lack of fall protection and training as well as electrical hazards.
The citations issued to T2 Construction can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/T2GCLLCdbaT2Construction_315512137_1102_11.pdf*
The citations issued to Gramek Construction can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/GramekConstrcutionInc_315512145_1102_11.pdf*
Each company 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.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.
* Accessibility Assistance Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.