In a disturbing trend that continues to turn up across the U.S., construction, demolition and hauling contractors have been willfully violating asbestos abatement, hauling and disposal safety standards. A recap of some of the most recent OSHA violations demonstrates a lack of concern for the health consequences and diseases that can stem from asbestos exposure.
October 21, 2009
A San Francisco federal grand jury indicted Rogelio (aka Roger) Lowe, owner of E&D Environmental Safety Training, on two counts of mail fraud and nine counts of making or using a false document or writing. Lowe is charged with engaging in a scheme to defraud in connection with issuing certificates to asbestos removal workers despite knowing he had not provided them with proper training.
October 1, 2009
The EPA fined Precision Demolition and Abatement, LLC, of Boise, Idaho, $36,000 for failing to properly handle asbestos during a building renovation in 2008. A site inspection by the EPA found several violations, most notably failing to keep asbestos wet and preventing visible emissions to the outside air.
September 30, 2009
The owner of the Chattanooga, Tennessee based Watkins Street Project, LLC, plead guilty to charges of conspiring to violate the Clean Air Act and defraud the U.S. Business owner Gary Fillers plead guilty to conspiring to violate the Clean Air Act’s “work practice standards” related to the proper stripping, bagging, removal and disposal of asbestos-containing materials. Fillers faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
September 29, 2009
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued Washington-based Able Contractor’s Inc., penalties of $30,409 for DEQ violations in related to an asbestos abatement project in Newberg, Oregon. Able Contractors, licensed in asbestos abatement since 1999, has been penalized for asbestos violations three times since 2001.
September 25, 2009
New Jersey trucking service broker John Deck faces up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for obtaining a false state permit allowing the dumping of asbestos. Deck’s company contracted private haulers to dump 60 million pounds of asbestos-containing debris to a former dairy farm that had been passed off as a legitimate dumping facility. The EPA has designated the illegal dumping grounds as a Superfund site, which could cost taxpayers millions to clean up.
July 30, 2009
OSHA cited three Baton Rouge based companies, Louisiana Health Care Consultants LLC, Dean Building Holdings, and Bob Dean Enterprises, for three alleged willful and 10 alleged serious violations of federal health and safety regulations. The proposed fines for all violations totaled $112,000. Included in the list of violations were multiple accounts of worker exposure due to a lack of safety equipment.
While the number of cited violations is alarming, it may only represent a small number of the willful violations as many may go unreported. In the end, improperly prepared workers and the unsuspecting public are unfairly exposed to asbestos and ultimately develop asbestos diseases like mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer.
Brayton Purcell has been assisting victims of asbestos diseases and their families for over 25 years. If you or someone close to you is battling an asbestos disease, please contact one of our asbestos attorneys for a free evaluation and discussion of your legal options.