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Worker Action Ends in OSHA Citations

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

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A federal health and safety inspection spawned by worker protests at New Orleans' largest housing redevelopment project has resulted in citations against four contractors.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued serious safety violations involving the handling of lead paint, asbestos and other hazards to the general contractor and three subcontractors on the $589 million redevelopment of the Iberville housing demolition and renovation project, an 821-unit complex adjoining the French Quarter.

Iberville
Creative Commons / Infrogmation of New Orleans

Four contractors on the $589 million redevelopment project have been cited for a variety of health and safety hazards. Two workers joined pickets at the site in March.

Much of the blighted, 73-year-old complex is being torn down and the complex is being replaced, unit for unit, with mixed-income housing.

The OSHA citations name:

  • General contractor Durr Heavy Construction, of Harahan, LA;
  • Abatement Construction & Services Contractor (ACSC) LLC, of New Orleans;
  • Horse Power Construction LLC, of New Orleans; and
  • Metro Service Group Inc., of New Orleans.

The Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO), which is overseeing the project, was not cited.

The violations include alleged failure to provide proper decontamination facilities and proper safety equipment required on job sites contaminated with lead and asbestos. Proposed fines total $42,100.

Pickets and Protests

The inspection was triggered by picketing in March at the site by two construction workers and members of a local advocacy group called Stand with Dignity.

Iberville Iberville
HANO

The Housing Authority of New Orleans calls Iberville  its largest project. More than 800 units will be replaced.

The workers, employees of ACSC, complained that they had no place to change clothes and lacked basic safety equipment. Stand with Dignity also filed a whistleblower complaint against the company, saying one of the workers had been subject to "threats and reprimands," the New Orleans Time-Picayune reported.

The same group picketed the site again in April.

ACSC has not commented on the allegations and could not be reached Tuesday (Aug. 26) for comment.

Iberville
Creative Commons / Infrogmation of New Orleans

Most of the 73-year-old complex is being razed and replaced with mixed-income housing.

Durr did not respond to a request for comment.

Citations

The citations allege:

  • Failure to determine initial lead exposure for employees entering asbestos containment (Durr);
  • Failure to ensure compliance by the asbestos subcontractor (Durr);
  • Lack of separate shower facilities for men and women (ACSC);
  • Lack of hot water to showers in the asbestos decontamination unit (ACSC);
  • Failure to conduct an initial lead hazard assessment (ACSC);
  • Lack of an adequate decontamination unit (ACSC);
  • Failure to provide medical records (Metro Service Group);
  • Failure to conduct assessment of airborne lead particulates (Metro Service Group);
  • Lack of a respiratory protection program (Metro Service Group);
  • Failure to conduct lead air monitoring during demolition (Horse Power);
  • Lack of respiratory protection (Horse Power);
  • Lack of protective clothing during demolition involving lead materials (Horse Power);
  • Lack of clean change areas (Horse Power); and
  • Lack of a hazard communication program (Horse Power).

The companies have 15 business days from receipt of the citations to contest them.

   

Tagged categories: Asbestos; Demolition; General contractors; Government contracts; Health and safety; Lead; Project Management; Residential; Respiratory Protection Standard; Subcontractors; Workers

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