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Fink Electric, Inc. in Sioux City, IA, is facing $159,798 in fines for exposing workers to lead and asbestos hazards while removing asbestos-insulated piping, said officials at the Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Iowa OSHA).

Investigators found the company failed to conduct required exposure assessments for asbestos and lead; train workers on respiratory hazards from lead and asbestos; and provide personal protective equipment for exposure to airborne asbestos fibers.

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The company is facing 14 serious violations and 3 willful violations.

In one of the willful violations, the employer did not use work practices in all operations covered by 1926.1101, regardless of the levels of exposure, in the form of prompt clean-up and disposal of wastes and debris contaminated with asbestos, in leak-tight containers. At the location, employees removed approximately 40 linear feet of asbestos insulated piping, from the building basement. The removed pipe was placed on the basement floor, where asbestos debris was allowed to accumulate.

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In a serious citation, the employer did not institute, at no cost to employees, a training program for each employee who was likely to be exposed in excess of the permissible exposure limit (PEL) and for each employee who performed Class I through IV asbestos operations.

In addition, respirators were not used during all Class I asbestos jobs, officials said.

In another citation, the employer failed to conduct daily monitoring that was representative of the exposure of each employee assigned to work in regulated areas and performing Class I or II work. Workers participated in the removal of approximately 40 linear feet of asbestos insulated piping, from the building basement, officials said. There was no air monitoring performed during the performance of this Class I asbestos work. As a result, employees were exposed to an unknown level of airborne asbestos fibers.

Also, the employer did not initially determine if any employee was exposed to lead at or above the action level of 30 micrograms per cubic meter of air calculated as an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA). Investigators found employees performed a variety of construction work while renovating the building electrical system. Although lead based paint debris was found on multiple levels of the building, the required exposure assessment for lead was not performed.

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