The U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued 27 citations, with total proposed penalties of $38,750, to three Clearwater-based contractors for allegedly exposing workers to asbestos at an Indian Shores demolition site.
“These employers were aware of the health standards but failed to protect employees from airborne asbestos,” said Les Grove, OSHA’s Tampa area director. “Such exposure can lead to asbestosis, a scarring of the lung tissue, and several types of cancer.”
According to OSHA’s investigation, the general contractor, Gannaway Builders, failed to assure that a competent person assessed and controlled employee exposure to airborne fibers during the removal of decorative ceilings that contain asbestos fibers. Gannaway also failed to: conduct regular site inspections; provide employees with personal protective equipment and safety training; and designate and maintain decontamination and change areas. The company received 15 serious citations with proposed penalties totaling $32,000.
OSHA issued nine serious citations, with proposed penalties totaling $4,500, to AARLICE Skilled Labor for exposing workers to asbestos hazards at the site. K & W Electric received three citations and a $2,250 fine for safety hazards also designated as serious.
The three contractors were involved in the demolition, renovation and condominium conversion of apartments in the Tampa area.
All three companies have 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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