Contractor Faces $323,000 Fine
2006 BUFFALO, NY -- A Webster, NY, construction contractor, faces a total of
$323,000 in proposed fines from OSHA for allegedly failing to protect its
employees against lead exposure hazards at a worksite on the campus of the
State University of New York at Geneseo.
Leo J. Roth Corp. was cited for a total of seven
alleged willful and serious violations of workplace health standards
following an OSHA inspection begun
2005, in response to an employee complaint. At that time, Roth had been
engaged for several weeks in the demolition and replacement of a lead-coated
copper roof on Sturges Hall, a process that generated lead-containing dust.
OSHA's inspection found that Roth had not conducted
initial monitoring to determine if the workers were exposed to airborne
concentrations of lead at levels that would trigger protective measures. The
company also had not provided the workers with interim safeguards, including
respiratory protection, personal protective clothing, biological monitoring
of blood lead levels, medical surveillance, training and hazard
As a result, Roth received five willful citations with
fines totaling $315,000. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed
with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements
of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
"Lead is a cumulative poison that can, over time,
damage the body's blood, nervous, neurological and reproductive systems.
When your employees work with lead, you must always assume exposure unless
or until monitoring proves otherwise," said Arthur Dube, OSHA's area
director for western
"This employer knew the initial monitoring and interim safeguards were
required to protect the workers, yet apparently elected to ignore them."
The company also failed to collect personal exposure
samples and had an incomplete lead compliance program. These violations
resulted in two serious citations with $8,000 in fines. A serious citation
is issued when death or serious physical harm are likely to result from a
hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the
citations to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA
area director or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety
and Health Review Commission. The investigation was conducted by OSHA's
area office, telephone (716) 551-3053.