Salem Construction Firm Penalized By State For Asbestos Removal Problems

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection recently penalized a Salem construction company nearly $40,000 because it hired an unlicensed asbestos contractor to work on two sites in 2010, the Boston Globe reports.

Our Massachusetts mesothelioma lawyers have reported many times before about problems contractors have had in properly removing asbestos from the historic homes and buildings throughout New England.
Sadly, companies haven’t done nearly a good enough job of taking this problem seriously. Construction companies decades ago regularly used asbestos in building structures when they didn’t know the ill-effects of asbestos, despite its usefulness. Years later, researchers found that asbestos was dangerous, yet some companies still used it or didn’t warn employees or residents of the dangers, leading to asbestos exposure in Massachusetts.

And today, the problems continue. The government has developed methods that companies must adhere to in order properly remove asbestos from buildings that were built years ago. But licensed and specifically trained asbestos removal companies must be used, not just any general contractor.

When asbestos is removed improperly from a building, it can be released into the air, which can lead to people ingesting it. And that’s when it becomes dangerous. People today are being diagnosed with mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos decades earlier. Because asbestos is no longer used in the United States, companies improperly removing asbestos may be the only way that a new generation of people ends up suffering from this rare and incurable form of cancer.

According to The Boston Globe, the contractor was fined by the state environmental agency for work done on two separate work sites. The first was at a school in Marblehead from January to March 2010 and in April 2010. The second was at Bolton’s public safety building in April 2010. In both cases, asbestos abatement work was done on those buildings.

The company used to remove the asbestos was not licensed in the state to remove asbestos and none of the companies involved notified the state about the work, as required by state law.

The Salem company paid $8,700 in fines and another $30,450 will be suspended for a 12-month period. Four of its workers will have to go through 16 hours of asbestos training in the next six months. One worker will be required to take 40 hours of asbestos training to act as an asbestos supervisor.

The inherent problem with the situation is that companies make hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars to take a contract to work on a building. If they are looking at a measly $8,000 fine versus hiring another company for much more, it makes more fiscal sense to take the fine. Despite the health risks, to some people this makes better business sense and often that’s what happens.

Our environmental experts must be diligent to ensure that our communities are protected and not exposed to dangerous asbestos, which can lead to a painful and certain death from mesothelioma.

Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers provides representation for victims exposed to asbestos who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston and throughout Massachusetts and New England. Call (617) 777-7777 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

More Blog Entries:

Another School Discovers Asbestos, Even Though Its Effects Have Been Known For Decades: November 22, 2011
Parents Want Massachusetts School With Asbestos Rebuilt: November 11, 2011
Additional Resources:

State penalizes Salem construction firm $39,150 for work in Marblehead, Bolton, by Justin Rice, Boston Globe

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