A statement was released this week after a Worcester company was fined by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) for reportedly failing to follow proper procedures for asbestos abatement while renovating the windows in their office building.
According to MassDEP, Worcester’s Modern Manufacturing Inc. was fined $16,137.50 after investigators discovered that glazing and window caulking that was filled with asbestos at the company’s office building on Southbridge Street wasn’t being removed and disposed of correctly. A statement released by MassDEP states that the company failed to comply and notify the state before starting their renovation project, which included removing old windows and them with new ones at the company’s office building.
According to Massachusetts state regulations, any materials that contain asbestos must be wetted down and removed before any company can begin a renovation or demolition project. In addition, the wet asbestos must then be placed in an air-tight. leak-proof container and clearly marked as asbestos on the outside of the container. Although the procedure may seem time-consuming, it’s one of the best ways to prevent airborne asbestos from traveling through air, which, when inhaled or ingested, places people at risk for life-threatening illnesses such as mesothelioma and asbestosis.
According to MassDEP’s Worcester regional office director, Lee Dillard Adams, all companies in Massachusetts must follow these procedures before renovating or demolishing a building:
“Companies conducting renovation project must first determine if any asbestos-containing materials will be involved. Asbestos is a known carcinogen and following prescribed regulatory work practices is imperative to protect workers as well as the general public,” said Adams.
The owner of Modern Manufacturing Inc., Robert Uras, said that he and his company were told that within the past two years inspections revealed that the office building had been checked and was free of any asbestos. However, there was only a visual inspection. Asbestos is not visible to the naked eye, therefore, the inspection was not complete. The owner went on to say that these kinds of mistakes will happen sometimes and that he complied with MassDEP right away after he was informed that asbestos was found.
The company negotiated a settlement with MassDEP, which states that they must pay $10,000 towards the fine, while the rest of the fine will be suspended, provided that the company doesn’t receive any other violations over the next year. Yet, the fine doesn’t account for anyone who may have been exposed to asbestos while working in the office building or around the building during its renovations. Should someone develop an asbestos-related illness, they have the legal right to pursue a mesothelioma lawsuit.
MassDEP is responsible for ensuring state safety by enforcing fines and penalties on any company who violates state law by improperly disposing of hazardous materials, polluting the water and air, or not cleaning up hazardous waste sites in a timely manner. If you suspect any company or any individual is in violation of state laws, contact your regional MassDEP office.
If you or a loved one have developed an asbestos-related illness due to the negligent actions of another party, you may be entitled to compensation. An experienced mesothelioma law firm can assist you and help you understand your legal rights. For a no-obligation, free consultation, contact our leading mesothelioma law firm today.