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Lead-Paint Work Draws $46k Fine

Monday, December 8, 2014

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An Illinois painting contractor faces federal citations and nearly $50,000 in fines for allegedly exposing employees to lead-paint dust.

Arturo’s Painting & Restauration Inc., of Chicago, was cited for 17 serious safety violations, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Dec. 3.

The citations stem from a May 19 inspection in Evanston, where employees were seen hand-scraping and power-sanding lead-based paint from a home exterior without personal protective equipment.

Above the Exposure Limit

OSHA’s investigation found the workers were exposed to airborne lead levels up to up to 0.061 mg/m3—well above the permissible exposure limit of 0.050 mg/m3.

The old paint contained up to 23.08 percent lead, according to the citation document.

EPA
EPA

“Lead is a leading cause of workplace illness and a common health hazard,” said Angie Loftus, OSHA’s area director for Chicago North in Des Plaines.

“Wipe samples indicated presence of up to 15,698 micrograms lead on employees’ palms and fingers,” OSHA alleged.

About the Company

Arturo’s Painting & Restauration was incorporated in 2013, according to the Illinois Secretary of State corporation database.

The company could not be reached for comment and does not have a website. A woman who answered a telephone number listed online for the company said that number was assigned to a pest control business, not the painting company.

OSHA records show no other violations for Arturo’s Painting.

Lead Dangers

“Lead is a leading cause of workplace illness and a common health hazard,” said Angie Loftus, OSHA’s area director for Chicago North in Des Plaines.

“Lead particles travel from work sites on clothing and other materials, so taking precautions to prevent exposure is important for workers and their families.”

lead based paint
© iStock.com / Hoppyard Hoppyard

The Chicago-area contractor is accused of 17 serious violations involving lead-based paint hazards.

OSHA also said it found cadmium and arsenic at the jobsite and determined that Arturo’s Painting had failed to train employees about the hazards of those exposures.

The agency cited the company for an “other than serious” violation for the cadmium exposure. No fine was indicated.

Serious Violations

The contractor was accused of 17 serious violations, carrying $46,000 in fines, according to a 71-page citation document.

The serious citations include the alleged lack of:

  • Respiratory protection;
  • Personal protective equipment (including clothing and gloves);
  • Medical surveillance;
  • Training and administrative controls; and
  • Hygiene and housekeeping practices.

A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability of death or serious physical harm from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The employer has 15 business days from the receipt of the 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.

Editor's Note: The permissible exposure limit for lead dust was corrected at 10 a.m. (EST) Dec. 8.

   

Tagged categories: Citations; Coating chemistry; Enforcement; Health and safety; Lead; Maintenance + Renovation; North America; OSHA; Paint Removal; Renovation; Sanding and hand tool cleaning

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