Renovation of Chicago Post Office Leads to Lead Hazard Violations

In a December 2017 publication of an OSHA inspection, a Chicago Post Office engaging in renovations cited three Chicago companies involved with the work performed for failing to protect their employees from lead and cadmium exposure hazards. All three companies faced a total of 31 citations and a possible penalty cost of over $200,000. The prompt for an OSHA inspection for lead hazards was made after receiving referrals from both the state and city public health departments.

It was with OSHA’s determination that the three companies in violation, did not comply with OSHA’s standards for: respiratory protection, respiratory protection training, personal protective equipment training, and failing to establish a written lead compliance program. Prolonged lead exposure without the proper personal protective equipment can lead to adverse health issues in the long run.

Lead poisoning can lie dormant for many years until the levels of lead in blood gradually increase. Judgment of lead poisoning is reliant on risk factors such as a residency’s age, where a person’s live and others. Severe cases of lead poisoning and lead exposure can lead to seizures, paralysis and potentially a coma. The most preventative way of not becoming lead poisoned is wearing the correct equipment at a worksite that may expose workers to lead hazards.

According to a 2017 study from the CDC (Center for Disease Control), approximately 535,000 U.S. children are afflicted with blood levels high enough to be detrimental to their health. This staggering statistic does not consider the fact that in 24 million homes that still contain lead-based paint with 4 million children still inhabit these houses. It is critical that firms understand the potential lead hazards that exist in jobsites, especially with these staggering statistics.

There are many ways to ensure your employees are safe from lead exposure and other airborne hazards. If the worksite may be contaminated with lead, a firm must draft a lead compliance plan to ensure that their workers have the most preventative measures to reduce exposure risks. In accordance with the compliance plan, employers must also train their employees and provide the necessary personal protective equipment. This may include facemasks, plastic linings, as well as safe quarantine of potentially hazardous materials.

At NATEC International, we offer a variety of classes that could save you from harsh fines and penalties should an OSHA inspection occur. Press releases are continually issued about these negligent companies endangering their employees. Your safety is our top priority and we want to ensure that you are within OSHA compliance.

In order to avoid a case such as the workers of the Chicago post office renovations, any employee exposed to hazardous conditions such as lead hazards must have personal protective equipment. Our training programs can get your team of employees with the right personal protective equipment and how to properly use and maintain it. We also offer respirator fit testing and training to ensure that masks are properly fitted for performing tasks in hazardous scenarios.

Training is also available to competent persons and staff for compliance. For workers whom are only exposed to lead-related hazards, a simple training course such as the lead awareness training may be sufficient. However, supervisors and managers of jobsites that may contain lead-hazards should have competent levels of training. At NATEC International, we offer various lead classes including but not limited to: Lead Worker, Leader Supervisor/Risk Assessor, and the corresponding refresher and continuing education training.

For EPA compliance, we also offer the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (Lead RRP) training course. This course covers the requirements for firms and employees when disturbing paint in housing facilities built before 1978. This course certifies firms as “lead-safe” and would allow firms to perform renovations on dwellings older than 1978 that may have used lead paint.

With state and federal regulations being imposed every day, it is imperative that your staff is properly trained and equipped with the right tools. Our qualified instructors are subject matter experts that have a minimum of 15-years practical industry experience. Backed by almost 3 decades of training experience, NATEC International prides ourselves in providing the highest quality training in California. Our offices are strategically located across California providing the best Northern California Safety Training, Southern California Safety Training and Sacramento Safety Training statewide! We have great coverage so that our instructors can come to you for onsite training.

Chicago Post Office Renovation Render
Curbed Chicago: Chicago Post Office Renovation Render

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