DMC Consultants, Inc., a Detroit-based consultant company, must pay $265,200 in fines for violating asbestos rules set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
According to the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA), DMC faces fines resulting from 14 violations, and at least 12 of the violations are “willful or serious violations.” The violations come after a contractor for DMC received an unsatisfactory rating after renovating two duplexes in Ypsilanti, located at 955 Madison St. and 113 Bell St.
Michigan state law states that willful violations occur when states laws are broken and serious violations occur due to “hazardous situations that have a high probability of causing harm or death to employees in the event of an accident, and the employer was, or should have been, aware of the problem.”
Not only did DMC fail to ensure that asbestos removal was done in a regulated area, but the company reportedly also failed to monitor the exposure of asbestos fibers while the renovation and abatement were taking place.
Michigan state law also mandates that adequate notification must be given to the state prior to starting any asbestos abatement project. DMC failed to do so, according to MIOSHA. According to a statement provided by MIOSHA,
“DMC also failed to use proper hazard control methods, provide proper respiratory protection, or protective clothing, or offer a decontaminated area for workers and equipment.”
DMC Consultants Deny Any Wrongdoing
Mike Chaudhary, co-owner of DMC, is adamant that no violations occurred, and plans to fight the charges against the company.
“We have never had a single violation to date. It is very, very serious. It has never happened in our history, so we have to go to the depth of it and figure it out.”
Asbestos exposure is highly dangerous and linked to serious, toxic illnesses, including asbestosis, malignant mesothelioma, and asbestos-related lung cancer. Both duplexes were built prior to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) strict regulation on asbestos use, and therefore, once the renovations began, asbestos fibers were released. Prior to the early 1980s, asbestos was frequently used in numerous construction products, and can still be found in older homes.
According to Crain’s Detroit Business, a worker for the company is the one who blew the whistle and brought the issues to the state. In turn, DMC was fined $154,600 for one duplex and $110,600 for the other duplex. The company has 15 days to respond after they receive the official notice. They can pay the fine or challenge it, but according to Chaudhary, the company plans to contest the fines “1,000%.”
Additional Resources and Help for Asbestos Victims
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