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Blasting Contractor Cited for Lead

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

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An Illinois contractor is facing nearly $47,000 in fines for allegedly exposing its abrasive blasters to lead paint, federal officials say.

Celtic Environmental Inc. was cited by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 10 serious safety violations and fined $46,900 after an October 2013 inspection where employees were found to be exposed to lead-paint hazards while conducting abrasive blasting work on a viaduct in Joliet, IL. 

Celtic Environmental Inc.
Photos: Celtic Environmental Inc.

Celtic Environmental specializes in lead, mold and asbestos abatement for commercial, industrial or residential projects.

OSHA initiated a complaint inspection of the site under the National Emphasis Program for Lead Exposure in Construction

Celtic Environmental, based in Chicago, IL, specializes in lead, mold and asbestos abatement for commercial, industrial or residential projects. 

Dangerous Lead Exposure

"OSHA has specific regulations to protect construction workers from dangerous lead exposure on the job," said Richard Langenderfer, OSHA's acting area director in Calumet City.

"OSHA standards require employers to implement engineering controls to reduce exposure, practice good hygiene to ensure lead dust and particles are not transported off the work site, and to provide required and appropriate respiratory protection. Unfortunately, we found all these violations at this work site."

The company did not respond Monday (March 17) to a request for comment

10 Violations Cited

According to OSHA, a serious violation reflects substantial probability of death or serious injury from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

lead paint abatement

Eight of the 10 serious violations issued allege lead protection violations.

Eight of the violations allege failure to adhere to lead protection standards, including failure to:

  • Collect personal samples to determine employee exposure;
  • Conduct blood sampling and analysis to monitor employee exposure;
  • Provide appropriate respiratory protection or implement a respiratory protection program;
  • Provide appropriate protective clothing;
  • Provide changing stations or separate storage facilities for contaminated clothing and equipment;
  • Provide a hand washing station;
  • Train workers on hazard communication, including lead and respiratory protection training; and
  • Establish and implement a written lead compliance program. 

The other two violations allege failure to secure pneumatic power tools and to provide hazard communication training to employees working with hazardous chemicals.

According to OSHA records, this is the first time the company has been cited in the 11 years since it was founded. 

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.


Tagged categories: Air abrasive blast cleaning; Health and safety; Lead; Lead paint abatement; OSHA; Personal protective equipment; Protective clothing; Respiratory Protection Standard

Comment from Andrew Planeta, (3/18/2014, 10:42 AM)

I was on this job and was laid off after blasting for a week then finally getting pre -lead test and it coming back high and the Dr. ordered me to be put on a different detail because of my high lead levels.That was my last day at work, this company is so reckless with the way they treat their workers and saftey procedures. Im sure they will be in more trouble again. Editor's Note: PaintSquare News has reached out to Celtic Environmental about this comment. The company has not responded.

Comment from Car F., (3/18/2014, 11:03 AM)

.and wait until silica exposures begin to appear, that will be the next big one............

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (3/18/2014, 12:07 PM)

That citation seems way, way low for the list of lead exposure failures cited here.

Comment from Billy Russell, (3/18/2014, 1:45 PM)

Apparently someone forgot to tell that supervisor they actually specialize in Abatement Procedures, "Lead compliance Program" that's like the complete Basic's wow.

Comment from Michael Deaton, (3/19/2014, 5:15 AM)

It seems like with the enormous fines looming over these contractors that are performing lead removal projects, they would assign one person in management to assure that all OSHA lead standards are being adhered to. I have worked many lead jobs for various contractors. Some have better practices than others. I guess it's like rolling the dice with OSHA. Until a contractor gets bit with a hefty fine, they float along doing just the minimum or less!

Comment from Norbert Norman, (3/21/2014, 12:20 PM)

It is unexcuseable that contractors with no lead worker and environmental safety program at all can still get contracts in this day of relative enlightenment about the hazards of lead exposure.

Comment from Michael Deaton, (3/24/2014, 5:16 AM)

I agree Norbert. company's should have to be researched for there compliance on previous lead jobs and rated accordingly. It still amazes me that most of these company's do not have someone in management directly involved in the daily field operations pertaining to lead. You've got guidelines already layed out by OSHA but you've got an owner standing there pushing to GO,GO,GO therefore many of the requirements are simply overlooked. Major ignorance on the part of some of these owners. OSHA would run the pen dry writing on most of these company's.

Comment from Billy Russell, (3/24/2014, 5:37 AM)

Michael, QP does not keep a public record of violations regarding lead hazardous waste violations (for some reason) Agreed OSHA could run their pen dry, The Ignorance is on the part of the PE that the owner retained to spec out the job, PE firms are the problem with cut/paste specifications The owner's Rely on these PE firms the only problem with that is we are not "Building" anything, Coating/Abatement projects are being run by PE with NO coating or Abatement experience, enter the 3rd party misinterpretation of the standards, and Let the Games Begin.......

Comment from Charles Carter, (3/25/2014, 12:12 PM)

I agree with Russell, The genesis for the deviations from OSHA requirements runs higher than the contractor. The specifications and contract docs address the issue of lead containing paints to be removed. A contractor should follow the law however when the oversight falls short of auditing the compliance you run the risk of any profit based company skirting the issue where they can. Take this down a notch and you have a productive job superintendent that is allowed to skirt the issues on sight due to the same lack of oversight. The bottom line is a long line of "It's not a problem until it's a problem!". As someone who works for a reputable contractor it is difficult to see that the industry is still littered with uncaring contractors who do not get it.

Comment from Mike L., (3/26/2014, 8:58 AM)

Interesting to note that the contractor is listed as licensed to perform lead abatement in the state of IL. As part of the application process with IDPH, the contractor must submit a copy of the Contractor's written standard operating procedures and employee protection plan, "which shall include specific references to medical monitoring and respirator training programs". At what point do we hold the regulatory and licensing entities responsible?

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