Asbestos removers are fined for unsafe practices

March 22, 1997

Contractors removing asbestos from two federal government properties in Maryland have been fined a total of $25,500 for unsafe handling of the hazardous insulating material.

The Maryland Department of the Environment levied a $15,500 fine against Hudak Asbestos Removal of Baltimore for violations from December 1995 to May 1996 at the Fallon federal office building at Hopkins Plaza.

The company was cited for allegedly endangering its workers and the federal employees in the building by not requiring removal crews to wear protective clothing and by not wetting asbestos to prevent it from becoming airborne. Other alleged violations include not posting warning signs around the work area.

When inhaled, some forms of asbestos can scar lungs and cause chronic breathing problems or mesothelioma, a cancer that is usually fatal.

Federal immigration agents arrested a dozen illegal immigrants working for Hudak on the asbestos removal project at Fallon last year. The arrested workers all had state cards certifying they had been trained in proper asbestos handling techniques.

The state also fined Chelsea Environmental Corp. of Vienna, Va., $10,000 for asbestos removal violations in November at Andrews Air Force Base in Camp Springs.

The contractor there allegedly did not post warnings or control airborne asbestos fibers. The state also cited the company for being unable to prove it disposed of the asbestos in an approved hazardous-waste facility.

Pub Date: 3/22/97

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