Huge Fines for Improper Asbestos Removal at Westinghouse
Earlier last month improper asbestos removal at the former Westinghouse plants in Churchill, PA was reported after photographs of unsafe asbestos abatement tactics were discovered and reports of untrained and unprotected workers were confirmed.
The Allegheny Health Department fined the owners and developers of this site $1.4 million – the largest monetary fine for an asbestos-related violation in the county, according to the department spokesperson.
Pintura Construction is also being fined $450,000 for allowing their unlicensed and unprotected workers to improperly remove the carcinogen. Hundreds of thousands of feet of asbestos-containing floor tiles were removed from the plant and placed into thinly-lined plastic bags. Photographs showed these bags being hauled away in pickup truck, and now the asbestos cannot be found. Fearing the asbestos might have been illegally dumped, the developers responsible for this project are now under a criminal investigation lead by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Many buildings built before 1980 contain asbestos but if the asbestos is properly encased, it does not pose a threat. However, if asbestos is disturbed like in the case at Westinghouse, the tiny, needle-sharp fibers are released and contaminate the air. Breathing in asbestos fibers is known to cause irreversible damage, and can lead to lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma.
Asbestos removal must be done in accordance with the EPA and OSHA regulations. Any building that is suspected to contain asbestos, or is built before 1978, must have a qualified asbestos inspector survey the building and provide detailed environmental reports under the rules of the US Department of Housing Development.
If you are suffering from an asbestos-related illness and are unsure if you have ever been exposed, contact the attorneys at Goldberg, Persky & White, P.C. For over 30 years we have represented many individuals throughout the US who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer, or other asbestos-related diseases. As a result of this focus, our mesothelioma lawyers have the knowledge and experience to fight for the best possible asbestos compensation. Learn more about our law firm’s asbestos experience, our mesothelioma attorneys, or our Ask an Asbestos Attorney for answers to common questions. Feel free to contact us directly for more information.
Andy Sheehan, “Allegheny Co. Slaps Owner Of Old Westinghouse Site With Biggest Asbestos Fine Ever,” CBS Pittsburgh (June 6, 2017). [Link]