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Renovators Fined for Asbestos Hazards

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

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Three Texas commercial real estate renovation companies are facing over $110,000 in federal fines for allegedly exposing workers to asbestos hazards, authorities have announced.

Austin-based FBZ Broadway LP, One Eighty Construction Inc., and Roscoe Properties Inc. have been cited with one willful violation each by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The asbestos exposure reportedly occurred in May at a residential apartment construction worksite in San Antonio, OSHA said Thursday (Nov. 19).

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Asbestos exposure is associated with lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis.

The companies, all owned by Jason Berkowitz, did not immediately respond Monday (Nov. 23) to a request for comment on the citations.

The Danger

Asbestos is a known human carcinogen and can cause chronic lung disease. Symptoms and/or cancer may take many years to develop following exposure, according to OSHA.

The mineral fiber was used in numerous building materials and vehicle products for its strength and ability to resist heat and corrosion before its dangerous health effects were discovered, OSHA noted.

Willful Citations

OSHA cited the FBZ Broadway LP and Rosco Properties involved in the renovation for failing to determine the location and quantity of asbestos. The companies face fines of $14,000 and $63,000, respectively.

FBZ Broadway had been cited for the same violation a month before and had failed to correct the hazard, OSHA alleged.

"There is simply no excuse for continuing to expose workers to this danger," said Alejandro Porter, OSHA's area director in the San Antonio Office.

One Eighty Construction was cited for one willful violation, carrying a $35,000 penalty, for failing to ensure that workers followed proper asbestos removal practices.

Proposed fines total $112,000.

The companies employ 261 workers combined.


Tagged categories: Air quality; Asbestos; Citations; Health and safety; OSHA; Regulations

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