Two Massachusetts contractors were each fined $32,100 by state environmental regulators for asbestos violations that released fibers of the toxic material into the air during demolition work at a local office park.
According to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) found that Columbia Construction Co. and USA Demolition Inc. failed to notify the agency of the demolition work or asbestos abatement work, as is required by law. The companies also removed and disposed of 3,000 square feet of asbestos-containing floor tile from the Beverly office park without preventing the release of friable asbestos.
When asbestos is disturbed, microscopic asbestos fibers are released into the air where they are easily inhaled. Fibers can then become embedded in the lungs and other internal organs where they can cause scarring, which can lead to serious health problems such as mesothelioma, a rare but fatal cancer. Asbestos exposure remains a serious risk for workers in the construction trades. Most occupational exposures occur during repair, renovation, removal, or maintenance of asbestos that was installed years ago.
“The lack of notification, the lack of controls and the careless disposal of this material are all violations and caused an unacceptable public health risk to workers and anyone else in the immediate area,” said Eric Worrall, director of the MassDEP’s Northeast Regional Office in Wilmington.
MassDEP halted the work immediately, and the companies hired a licensed asbestos abatement company to create a plan to remediate the asbestos on the site in compliance with regulations.
Columbia was ordered to pay $9,700 of its fine, and USA Demolition will pay $8,700. The MassDEP agreed to suspend the remaining penalties provided there are no additional asbestos violations over the next year.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease such as mesothelioma, contact Sokolove Law today for a free case evaluation and to learn if an asbestos attorney can help you.