Friday, November 2, 2012

Company that restores windows for historical buildings cited for exposing workers to airborne leads

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited History Construction Management LLC of Odell, Illinois for 22 alleged serious health violations. OSHA opened an inspection in May in response to a complaint and found that some workers were exposed to airborne lead at more than 40 times the permissible limit. Proposed fines total more than $59,000.

"Employers such as History Construction Management have a responsibility to ensure that operations are conducted in a way that eliminates or minimizes lead hazards, including exposure," said Tom Bielema, director of OSHA's Peoria Area Office. "Training workers to recognize lead hazards and take necessary precautions to prevent exposure is necessary to protect their health."

Fifteen of the violations relate to OSHA's lead standard, including failing to implement engineering and work practice controls to reduce exposure, collect full shift personal samples for monitoring, provide clean protective clothing, provide clean changing rooms or separate storage facilities for protective work clothing to prevent cross-contamination with street clothes, keep surface and eating areas free from lead dust accumulation, properly sweep up lead dust, provide training to employees about lead and post lead hazard warning signs.

Five violations of OSHA's respiratory protection standard involve failing to implement a respirator protection program that includes proper respirator selection, medical evaluation, fit testing and training. The remaining two violations are using flexible electrical cords as a substitute for fixed wiring and improperly altering electrical cords. 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.

History Construction Management, which specializes in restoring windows for historical buildings, previously was cited by OSHA in 2009 for failing to provide a hazard communications program and require the use of personal protective equipment.

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