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OSHA Issues $1.2 million Fine for Violation of Asbestos Standard

Posted June 23, 2011

OSHA recently issued penalties of $1,247,400 to a non-funeral profession employer in Illinois for violating the asbestos standard. As a result of a safety inspection, untrained and unprotected employees were removing asbestos found on the employer's boilers, heating units and connected piping.

The employer was cited for failing to implement a respiratory protection program, failing to use engineering and controls for class 1 asbestos work, not conducting asbestos work in regulated areas and failing to provide hygienic facilities for workers removing the asbestos. OSHA learned of the condition as a result of a referral from a state environmental protection agency; state and federal environmental protection agencies can and do refer potential OSHA violations to enforcement officials.

Funeral homes located in an older, converted building may contain asbestos-covered pipe or building materials. Funeral home employees should never, on their own, attempt to remove or disturb any material suspected of containing asbestos during a renovation or repair.

Asbestos removal or containment, when necessary, should be done only after all required permits are obtained and by a professional asbestos removal company licensed to remove asbestos material and properly dispose of it. Removal and disposal of any asbestos-containing product, including drywall, boiler or heating plant insulation, pipe coverings or ceiling or floor tiles should never be done by untrained employees. Doing so may subject the funeral home to serious citations and penalties for failing to comply with the OSHA asbestos standard.

For more information about the OSHA asbestos standard, members can call the NFDA OSHA Hotline at 800-633-2674 for a complimentary consultation. The hotline can assist with nearly all inquiries; however, NFDA members can also call NFDA OSHA Counsel Edward M. Ranier with OSHA-related legal questions at 410-967-1812.