OSHA slaps MI painting contractor with $122K fine for exposing workers to lead

  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Michigan painting contractor V&T Painting for two willful, 13 serious and six other violations for exposing its workers to lead and other hazards. OSHA fined the company $121,880.
  • In October, OSHA investigators were conducting a “proactive enforcement effort” at a Michigan municipal storage location when they observed V&T employees removing paint from water tanks with “abrasive blasting” methods. The agency said V&T provided respirators to employees engaged in this work but did not use onsite ventilation units to decrease the level of lead exposure.
  • The agency also determined that V&T did not adhere to required decontamination procedures that mandate a vacuum and showers be made available to workers leaving the tank. In addition, OSHA also cited V&T for safety violations related to scaffolds and fall protection.

“V&T Painting exposed its employees and their families to the unnecessary risk of unsafe lead exposure by not properly protecting them,” Mark Stelmack, director of OSHA’s Wilkes-Barre area office, said in a release.

OSHA reported that 838,000 construction industry workers could be exposed to lead resulting from painting, piping and demolition operations or any construction work that involves lead-containing materials. Workers can also expose others to lead if they do not eliminate lead dust from their clothing and shoes before they leave the job site.

V&T also violated fall protection standards, for which OSHA strongly campaigns. According to the agency, 40% of worker deaths can be attributed to falls. In its most recent effort to reduce falls, OSHA cited a “serial violator,” New Jersey contractor Berlin Builders, for not meeting fall protection standards, as well as for other unsafe job site conditions. Berlin, only in business for a little more than a year, has been the subject of 23 OSHA investigations in Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania , and has accumulated suggested fines exceeding $600,000.

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