Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Could this happen to you?

Aapex Environmental Services of Liverpool, New York was hit with a $57,000 fine from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Aapex was hit with this fine based on an inspection begun on November 13, 2006 which found that Aapex was exposing employees to asbestos during an asbestos removal project at the Agway Building in Dewitt, New York. The OSHA inspection found the following:
  • required monitoring of employees' exposure to asbestos was not conducted on several occasions even though monitoring records alleged that it had been done (OSHA issued a willful citation with a proposed fine of $42,000).
  • short term (excursion limit) sampling was not done.
  • the contractor did not keep accurate exposure monitoring records.
  • employees were not notified of sampling results.
  • employees were not trained to properly establish an asbestos containment system.
  • contractor did not prevent asbestos contaminated water from leaking from an enclosed work area.

For the last five violations, OSHA issued serious citations totaling $15,000. The willful citation is issued when OSHA determines that the employer commits a violation with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health. A serious violation is issued when OSHA determines death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Preventing these types of violations requires the development and adherence to a personal air sampling plan. The air sampling plan should properly document all segments of personal air sampling. The plan should include the number of people you will sample, calibration of equipment, documentation of who is sampled and the work tasks performed, documentation of the laboraotry accreditations, procedures for collecting samples and ensuring the samples are individually numbered, ensuring the chain of custody is completed correctly, and maintaining these records for 30 years from date of creation. The information from this plan then assists with documenting the proper respiratory protection used by the workers and assists with the respiratory protection plan and the exposure assessment for the project and future projects.

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