An inspection of a commercial building site in Chicago that houses several art studios found workers exposed to excessive amounts of lead during sandblasting operations. Waclaw Cilulko, doing business as American Masonry Inc., performs masonry repair and stone setting and is no stranger to OSHA inspections.
Waclaw Cilulko operates several similar companies in the Chicago area that have undergone 39 OSHA inspections since 1978, resulting in 137 cited violations. The companies operate as American Masonry Concepts Inc., American Masonry & Supply Inc., America’s Best Masonry Inc., All American Masonry Inc. and American Masonry & Stucco Inc.
“When employers such as American Masonry knowingly ignore health requirements, they are unduly placing their workers at risk for illnesses, and that is unacceptable,” said Nick Walters, OSHA’s regional administrator in Chicago. “Lead exposure can cause serious neurological damage, among other illnesses.”
The willful violations involve failing to implement a written lead compliance program, provide personal protective equipment, provide clean changing rooms or separate storage facilities for protective work clothing to prevent cross-contamination with street clothes, and vacuum and remove lead dust from the work site. The company also has been cited for failing to implement a medical surveillance program for all employees exposed to lead that includes initial monitoring and biological monitoring such as blood sampling, as well as failing to implement a respirator protection program that includes fit testing and training. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the OSHA citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with Walters or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.