Contractor Cited for Asbestos Abatement Safety Violations

A hazardous substance removal firm in Boynton Beach working on Palm Beach Outlet (West Palm Beach) project was cited for causing a deadly asbestos accident last summer and issued a fine of $10,780. The OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) started investigation following the death of Juan Arias on job in August. The safety agency ultimately said that the employees of Best-Tec Asbestos Abatement were exposed to the hazard of electrocution while removing energized electrical conduits, according to a January 17 citation. The citation carries gravity factor of ten – the highest. The federal agency also cited the asbestos abatement company for failing to train employees properly on electrocution hazard that has a gravity factor 5. Juan Arias was electrocuted, the Office of the county Medical Examiner says. Arias fell approximately 15 ft from scaffold inside the Sears building at Palm Beach Mall located at 1801 Lakes Blvd, according to a spokesman representing the city of W. Palm Beach. Greg Kleinrichert, the president of Best-Tec, said that it is challenging the citations. Kleinrichert was unwilling to comment further. However, he said the employees of the company were trained. He said the company has hired a lawyer. Best-Tec is needless to pay the fines while the citations are being challenged. There will be a hearing with the United States Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The mall that is being demolished was constructed 45 years ago when asbestos was an extensively used construction material. Therefore, asbestos abatement is unavoidable prior to the demolition because otherwise the material could be disturbed or broken. Disturbed asbestos is extremely dangerous. It can release deadly fibers into the air, which could be inhaled easily by people in the surroundings. The demolished mall will give way for a new outlet centre. JCPenney had told that it would remain open at the time of tearing down and construction of outlet centre. However, the company has now confirmed that it is shutting that store as well. According to Kleinrichert says work in the Sears was stopped for approximately a month following the accident. However, Best-Tec has now completed most of its work in the building. New England Developmentâ??s Tom Carabine says the owner knows about the citation. He said the issue wonâ??t affect Best-Tecâ??s ability to remove the asbestos which remains in the site still, which is on the mallâ??s roof section.

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