The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) fined Oregon Environmental LLC more than $440,000 for mishandling asbestos-containing building materials. After a year-long investigation, the DEQ revoked the company’s license to handle asbestos in any capacity.
Oregon Environmental LLC failed to conduct required air sampling to make sure the air at work sites was safe from asbestos. They also failed to dispose of asbestos properly at an authorized waste disposal site. The company also submitted false or inaccurate documentation to DEQ including the last two asbestos renewal applications and failed to submit the required notifications to the DEQ for at least 110 projects.
In Other States…
Unfortunately, situations like the aforementioned are more common than they should be. In Texas, five construction companies were fined by OSHA for failing to inform workers of the presence of asbestos. In comparison to the $440,000 in fines charged to the company in Oregon, the Texas companies are being fined together a total of $185,150.
In Washington, an asbestos removal company was fined $229,700 for unsafe working conditions. They also willingly broke regulations relating to the handling of removed asbestos to protect the workers employed by the company and the general public.
Why it Matters
Asbestos was used for decades in textile products, automotive parts, home and commercial buildings, naval ships, and more. If asbestos is disturbed, the fibers become airborne resulting in inhalation or ingestion. There is no “safe” level of exposure to asbestos; even minimal levels can cause mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung and other cancers. Construction and asbestos removal companies willingly break regulations that are supposed to protect workers, customers, and their families, are putting them in serious danger of being exposed to asbestos and developing an asbestos-related illness.
Sources: 1, 2