OSHA Cites Willowbrook, IL, Contractor for Repeat Violations of Respiratory, Hearing Standards

Repeat violations draw penalties totaling $56,700 for failing to equip breathing-air compressors with high temperature alarms and provide medical evaluations to workers who must wear respirators

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The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Allied Waterproofing Inc. in Willowbrook, Ill., with five health violations, including four repeat violations of OSHA's respiratory protection and hearing conservation standards, found during an inspection of a Chicago parking structure under repair. Proposed penalties total $56,700.

The April inspection was initiated under OSHA's National Emphasis Program on Silica, which targets work sites where employees are at risk for developing silicosis from exposure to dust containing respirable crystalline silica. Silicosis is a disabling, nonreversible and sometimes fatal lung disease caused by breathing in a large amount of silica.

The repeat violations involve failing to ensure that air compressors used to supply breathing air were equipped with high temperature and/or carbon monoxide alarms, employees required to use a respirator were provided medical evaluations, and an effective hearing conservation program was maintained. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Similar violations were cited at a Rolling Meadows, Ill., job site in 2007 and 2008.

One serious violation is failing to annually conduct fit testing for workers who wear respirators. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Allied Waterproofing Inc. performs concrete restoration and repairs. Prior to this inspection, the company had been inspected by OSHA four times since 2007, resulting in citations for 23 violations.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Chicago North office at 847-803-4800.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.