MIOSHA to protect workers from asbestos, other hazards

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The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration relaunched its state emphasis program that increases MIOSHA presence on blight removal projects across the state to address hazards such as asbestos and lead that pose health threats to workers.

The SEP will be in effect through February 28, 2019.  MIOSHA is part of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).

“As Michigan continues to eliminate blight and revitalize its neighborhoods, it is especially important that the men and women working on these projects are protected from potential hazards,” said MIOSHA Director Bart Pickelman. “MIOSHA’s inspections of jobsites helps ensure employees involved in blight cleanup are properly trained and equipped to work with hazardous materials in a safe manner.”

Blight reduction hazards include potential exposure to lead, asbestos, cadmium, silica and other chemicals. During the 2016-17 SEP, MIOSHA conducted 30 inspections of residential blight removal jobsites. During each inspection, the agency works with employers to assist them in identifying hazards that are associated with these demolition and renovation work operations.

MIOSHA issued citations to 43 percent of the employers who were inspected under the program. Most of the inspections took place during removal of asbestos from structures before they were demolished.

MIOSHA inspected 17 different employers; some employers more than once.

MIOSHA issued citations for 62 violations including seven violations of the Michigan Asbestos Abatement Contractor Licensing Act and one violation of the Michigan Asbestos Workers Accreditation Act. Most of the citations were issued for lack of asbestos medical examinations and consultations. Seventy-one percent of the violations were categorized as serious. Initial penalties equaled $67,600.

MIOSHA’s Asbestos Program ensures that people working with asbestos are properly trained and the individuals performing asbestos removal comply with rules governing the work activity.

Contractors performing friable asbestos removal or encapsulation work in Michigan must provide project notifications indicating the start and end dates and other job-related information to the Asbestos Program within a specified timeframe.

Also available at no cost to employers, is MIOSHA’s Consultation Education and Training (CET) Division. CET consultants are available to help employers develop and implement long-term safety and health programs and comply with current MIOSHA regulations.

For free statewide assistance, companies can call the CET Division at 517-284-7720; toll-free at 
800-866-4674 or visit the website at www.michigan.gov/miosha.

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