Aug 8, 2011 - $110K Fine for Failure to Protect Against Asbestos
The parent company of a 78 bed skilled nursing home facility, Windsor Monterey Care Center, was fined $110K for failure to protect workers from exposure to asbestos during renovation project that occurred in 2009. S&F Management Co. LLC, the facility’s property management company, failed to do pre-inspection for asbestos and to provide protection while removing asbestos containing acoustic ceiling.
Demolishing or salvaging structures where asbestos is present.
Removing or encapsulating asbestos-containing material.
Constructing, altering, repairing, maintaining, or renovating asbestos-containing structures or substrates.
Installing asbestos-containing products.
Cleaning up asbestos spills/emergencies.
Transporting, disposing, storing, containing, and housekeeping involving asbestos or asbestos-containing products on a construction site.
Part of these regulations require that a competent, specially trained person oversee any activity involving ACMs to ensure that renovation, removal or demolition is performed according to safety standards. Typical safety precautions involve notifying workers and anyone else in the area, using wet methods to contain dust and fibers from becoming airborne, and proper labeling and disposal of contaminated debris.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 put these precautions in place due to the lethal toxicity of asbestos. Inhalation or ingestion of airborne asbestos can cause fatal diseases such as mesothelioma and asbestosis decades after exposure. Mesothelioma is a particularly painful type of cancer with a very low survival rate. Asbestosis creates a scarring of the lungs that makes it very difficult to breathe and eventually leads to death as well.
Windsor Monterey Care Center eventually hired a company certified in asbestos abatement to make sure all asbestos was removed and disposed of in a way that did not pose a threat to workers or residents.
Before that, however, they put many workers at risk of later developing an asbestos related disease. The fine of $110K is intended to deter them as well as other companies from failing to follow safety regulations when it comes to renovation, construction or demolition projects involving ACMs.