The First Word in Protective & Marine Coatings

A Product of Technology Publishing / PaintSquare
JPCL | PaintSquare News | Durability + Design | Paint BidTracker

Get Paint BidTracker's Water Facility Painting Opportunities of 2015

Paint and Coatings Industry News

Main News Page

Asbestos Contractor Gets 6-Year Term

Friday, September 23, 2011

More items for Program/Project Management

Comment | More

A New York construction and asbestos abatement contractor has been sentenced to six years in prison for lying to his untrained employees—and, later, to a federal inspector—about their asbestos exposure.

After a two-day hearing in federal court in Rochester, U.S. District Court Judge Charles J. Siragusa handed down the prison term Wednesday (Sept. 21) for Keith Gordon-Smith, 54, of Rochester, NY.

 Asbestos fell on workers like snow
Unprotected workers said the asbestos was falling on them “like snow” as they removed it, according to EPA.

Earlier, a federal jury convicted Gordon-Smith of knowingly violating the Clean Air Act and lying to an Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspector who was investigating allegations of illegal asbestos removal by the now-defunct Gordon-Smith Contracting Inc.

Gordon-Smith was also sentenced to serve three years of supervised release after his prison term and was ordered to pay a $1,100 special assessment. His former company was sentenced to pay a special assessment of $44,000.

‘Large Amounts Were Left Hidden’

The Environmental Protection Agency, which initiated the case, said Gordon-Smith had hired a number of workers who had had no training in asbestos removal and did not know they were being exposed to asbestos while removing copper pipes during a demolition project at a New York hospital and multiple other construction sites.

The workers told authorities that asbestos fell on them “like snow” as they removed it and scrap metal from the sites. The workers had neither protective clothing nor respirators and wore their asbestos-laced clothes home after work.

The jury also found that Gordon-Smith and his company had workers illegally remove and dispose of asbestos during the abatement phase of the project, from May 2007 to February 2009.

“The asbestos was allowed to flow from upper floors through drains and holes in containment,” according to an EPA release. “Large amounts of asbestos were left hidden in the west wing.”

Lying, Notifications Cited

Gordon-Smith and his company were also convicted of six counts of failing to provide required notices to EPA before beginning asbestos abatement projects at six different sites in the Rochester area.

Evidence at sentencing showed that when workers questioned Gordon-Smith, he lied and told them the areas did not contain asbestos, according to EPA. Gordon-Smith later lied to the OSHA inspector at the job site.

“The highly dangerous actions of Keith Gordon-Smith exposed both workers and the public to hazardous materials,” said U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. “Those in the asbestos removal industry are well compensated for their work, but in return are under legal and moral obligation to perform the job correctly.”

Asbestos work practice standards under the Clean Air Act require that all asbestos be removed from any structure where it may be disturbed. While asbestos is removed during abatement, it must be wetted, kept wet at all times, and disposed of as soon as practical at an EPA-approved site.


Tagged categories: Asbestos; Construction; EPA; Health and safety; Industrial Contractors; OSHA; Regulations; Violations

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

SAFE Systems, Inc.
Portable Blast &
Recovery Equipment

Trailer or skid mounted blast and recovery equipment. Systems designed for maximum versatility, environmental compliance
and overall cost savings.
Call 1-800-634-7278

Minerals Research & Recovery


“Made in the USA!”

Why recycle waste from other countries? Go FASTER, CLEANER, at 1/3 THE COST with MR&R “All-American” Sharpshot®HP!!


DeHumidification Technologies

DH Tech has the most innovative and reliable equipment available to
control humidity efficiently
and effectively.

US Minerals
US Minerals -
Black Magnum

With nationwide production and distribution capabilities, U.S. Minerals supplies a complete range of coal slag and other abrasives to meet all of your blasting needs.

Novatek Corporation
Dustless Coatings Removal

Strip it, clean it, and profile it,
all dust free! High production
rates and Blast like finishes.
Comply with new lead

CS Unitec
Peening Preparation Tools

CS Unitec’s hand-held scarifiers are an ideal alternative to small-area shot blasting for cleaning and preparing concrete & metal surfaces.

Blastox/The TDJ Group, Inc.
Blastox - One Step
Lead Abatement

Don't waste $$ on added labor steps with other methods. Don't mix, meter or apply at the job-site. Avoid strict hazardous waste rules.
Let your painters paint!

Technology Publishing

The Technology Publishing Network

The Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings (JPCL) PaintSquare
Durability + Design Paint BidTracker JPCL Europe

EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us

© Copyright 2000-2014, Technology Publishing / PaintSquare, All rights reserved
2100 Wharton Street, Suite 310, Pittsburgh PA 15203-1951; Tel 1-412-431-8300; Fax 1-412-431-5428; E-mail