Illinois Construction Companies Exposed Workers to Asbestos Hazards, Hit with $1.8M OSHA Fine

Illinois Construction Companies Exposed Workers to Asbestos Hazards, Hit with $1.8M OSHA Fine

Category: Work Injuries

Posted August 19, 2015 by admin

Two Illinois-based construction companies have been issued nearly $1.8 million in fines from officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for reportedly exposing workers to asbestos hazards.

Two Illinois construction companies face $1.8 million in OSHA fines for willfully exposing workers to asbestos hazards, a Mount Vernon workers compensation lawyer explains.
Two Illinois construction companies face $1.8 million in OSHA fines for willfully exposing workers to asbestos hazards, a Mount Vernon workers compensation lawyer explains.

According to OSHA, the companies, Kehrer Brothers Construction and D7 Roofing, willfully exposing at least eight workers to asbestos hazards and threatened these workers with termination if they informed OSHA of these violations.

While D7 Roofing has been issued one serious and two willful OSHA violations, Kehrer Brothers Construction has received 16 egregious violations, 9 willful violations and 6 serious violations.

Given that Kehrer Brothers Construction has an extensive history of violating OSHA regulations and exposing workers to dangerous work conditions (it’s been inspected by OSHA 11 times over the past 8 years), it has been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

A Closer Look at the Violations, Asbestos Hazards

As OSHA has explained, Kehrer Brothers Construction intentionally exposed a group of workers to asbestos hazards during demolition work. Specifically, some of the ways that the company violated OSHA regulations and, in doing so, put workers at a significant and unnecessary risk of asbestos exposure included by:

  • Failing to warn workers that they faced a risk of asbestos exposure even though the employer was fully aware of this risk
  • Failing to train workers about asbestos risks and how to work around asbestos
  • Failing to provide workers with essential personal protective equipment (PPE), including eyewear, respirators and protective clothing, to limit their exposure to asbestos hazards
  • Failing to set up a decontamination area where workers could remove their PPE before leaving the site
  • Failing to use necessary methods to minimize asbestos exposure and prevent toxic asbestos fibers from becoming airborne.

Among the violations committed by D7 Roofing included failing to inform workers about asbestos hazards and failing to train them on how to properly abate these hazards.

While intentionally exposing workers to asbestos hazards certainly makes this case egregious, so too does the fact that the employers seemed to have specifically targeted workers who may not have been aware of their rights to a safe workplace. In fact, the workers exposed to these asbestos hazards were all Spanish-speaking individuals work on temporary visas for these companies.

Commenting on this case, Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for OSHA, has stated:

Kehrer Brothers Construction brought non-English speaking workers to the U.S. and knowingly exposed them to asbestos…Kehrer also threatened to fire his employees if they spoke with our investigators. This is outrageous, illegal behavior. We at OSHA will do everything in our power to ensure this employer stops endangering his employees.

Mount Vernon Workers Compensation Lawyer at the Law Firm of Hassakis & Hassakis, P.C.

If you or a loved one has been hurt at work or has been diagnosed with an occupational illness, contact an experienced and trusted Mount Vernon workers compensation lawyer at the Law Firm of Hassakis & Hassakis, P.C.

Since 1950, our attorneys have been providing the highest quality legal services and representation to injured workers and their families. Our trusted legal team always focuses on our clients’ needs, is passionate about our clients, and will do everything possible to help our clients maximize their financial recoveries.

Contact us today by calling (888) 896-9381 or by emailing us using the contact form on this page. We can provide you with a free, no obligations case evaluation, along with professional advice regarding the best manner in which to move forward.

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