After being issued 19 willful citations and eight serious violations during a 2010 health inspection, AMD Industries was ordered to pay fines exceeding $1.2 million by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
A 2002 audit revealed that the Cicero-based company utilized asbestos in boilers, heating units and connective pipes. The company began a removal project in November 2010, employing untrained and unprotected workers for the abatement. During the project, the workers were exposed to materials thought to contain as much as 50 percent asbestos.
Because of asbestos-related health threats such as malignant mesothelioma, proper abatement procedures have been set forth to ensure worker safety during the process. AMD Industries, however, “failed to take the most basic safety precautions,” according to OSHA’s Assistant Secretary of Labor, Dr. David Michaels.
The workers were not given protective equipment such as respirators. This placed them at a much higher risk of inhaling asbestos fibers. The company’s failure to provide protective clothing, gear and adequate asbestos removal training warranted fines of $945,000 and 15 willful citations.
Four willful violations were also issued, adding $252,000 to the fine. According to OSHA, the company did not inform the workers of the location and quantity of asbestos or the airborne concentration of asbestos. Additionally, AMD Industries failed to use the required high-efficiency particulate air vacuums, wet removal procedures and proper waste disposal methods. These violations were classified as “intentional disregard for the requirements of the law or plain indifference to employee health and safety.”
Additional fines totaling $50,400 were imposed as the result of eight serious citations. These citations addressed the company’s failure to implement a respirator protection program, their lack of engineering controls during the removal, the absence of a regulated removal area and a lack of adequate hygiene facilities.
The fines, which totaled $1,247,400, were issued through OSHA’s Severe Violators Enforcement Program. The company has been given 15 business days to respond to the violations.