Federal safety regulators have cited seven construction companies for exposing workers to asbestos hazards at a San Antonio construction work site. Proposed penalties total $148,000.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration said three Miami-based contractors and four San Antonio-based subcontractors were cited for 45 serious violations and one other-than-serious violation.
A referral by the Texas Department of State Health Services prompted an OSHA inspection in March at the Reserves at Pecan Valley apartment complex located on East Southcross Boulevard. Inspectors found that workers were remodeling apartments without the use of proper clothing and respiratory equipment that would protect them from exposure to asbestos, OSHA said.
Specifically, the violations include failing to abate asbestos hazards and ensure that employees work in regulated areas, perform air monitoring for asbestos exposure, use the required engineering controls to prevent exposure, require the use of proper respiratory and personal protective equipment, train workers on the hazards of working with asbestos and ensure that an asbestos assessment is performed by a qualified person.
A serious violation occurs when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The Miami-based contractors have been cited for a total of 14 violations: Newport Property Ventures LLC has been issued citations carrying $36,100 in fines for eight serious and one other than serious violation; Newport Property Construction LLC has been fined $12,600 for two serious violations and Jamesboys Inc. has been issued citations carrying $18,900 in fines for three serious violations.
The San Antonio subcontractors have been cited for a total of 32 violations: Alex Vega doing business as Alco Painting & Remodeling has been issued citations carrying $28,200 in fines for 11 serious violations; Luis Lozada has been issued citations with $20,400 in fines for eight serious violations; Frank Gonzalez has been issued citations with $9,600 in fines for four serious violations; and Clemente Covarrubias, doing business as Knock It Out, has been issued citations with $22,200 in fines for nine serious violations.
The companies have 15 business days from receipt of their citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director in San Antonio, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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