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Franklin Park, IL-based A.M. Castle & Co. is facing $59,720 in fines for two repeated and five serious violations for exposing workers to asbestos hazards, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA initiated an inspection Sept. 25 at the metal service center that engages in wholesale distribution of metal and steel stock, after receiving a complaint.

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The complaint claimed safety and health hazards including occupational exposure to asbestos, insufficient training for employees on asbestos in the workplace, and lack of permit-required confined space procedures, OSHA said.

“A.M. Castle has a responsibility to train its workers in the hazards of being exposed to asbestos and confined spaces,” said Angeline Loftus, OSHA’s area director in Des Plaines. “Asbestos exposure can cause long-term and irreversible damage to the lungs. A. M. Castle needs to re-evaluate this facility and correct these hazards immediately.”

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Two repeated violations the company include:
• Not providing awareness training to employees who perform housekeeping operations in areas that contain asbestos or presumed asbestos containing material.
• Not making a copy of the OSHA Asbestos Standard readily available and accessible to affected employees.

The company faced previous citations for these violations on March 28, 2012. OSHA issues repeated violations when an employer previously received citations for the same or a similar violation in the past five years.

The serious violations include:
• Not evaluating the workplace to determine if any confined spaces were permit-required.
• Not posting danger signs or notifying employees of a permit-required confined space.
• Not developing and implementing a written permit-required confined space entry program.
• Failing to inform employees, who perform maintenance in areas where asbestos is present, of the presence, quantity and location of asbestos containing material or presumed asbestos containing material which might have been contacted during such work activities
• Failing to ensure training on asbestos was in accordance with OSHA standards.
• Failing to provide annual asbestos training to employees involved in Class IV asbestos operations.

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