The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has singled out an Illinois company for failing to protect its workers adequately from loose asbestos fibers during a 2010 abatement process and levied more than $1 million in fines against it.
The fines were levied by OSHA against AMD Industries of Cicero, IL on May 25 after an investigation turned up 19 “willful” and eight “serious” health citations for the manner in which an asbestos abatement project in the company’s facility in 2010 was handled.
The asbestos products, which had included asbestos coating on boilers, heating units, and piping, had initially been discovered during a 2002 safety audit. When they were eventually removed eight years later, workers were used in the process who had not been properly equipped or trained to safely handle the products. Upon learning of the improper asbestos removal practices taking place at the site, the Illinois Attorney General’s office intervened and ordered the company to implement a program to remediate any asbestos contamination.
OSHA became involved in the process as well, handing out the health citations as well as $1,247,400 in penalties.
Among the health citations that were handed out by OSHA were notifications that AMD had failed to provide employees engaged in the hazardous work with the proper training and protective clothing/equipment, inform workers of the locations and quantities of asbestos they would be dealing with, and monitor airborne concentrations of asbestos during the project.
“Asbestos exposure can be deadly,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “AMD Industries knew it was assigning workers to asbestos removal work and failed to take the most basic safety precautions. This employer did not provide protective respirators or even warn the workers of the risk to their health from removing the material.”
Mesothelioma and asbestosis are both deadly illnesses that are caused primarily by exposure to asbestos fibers. If you were exposed to asbestos while working for a company and have since developed one of these illnesses, it may be worth pursuing a mesothelioma lawsuit that could potentially result in a substantial asbestos settlement. If you think that a mesothelioma attorney could help prove your illness was caused by a specific entity’s negligence, please contact Sokolove Law for a free legal consultation.