Monday, May 07, 2007

Hospital Fined Over $10k for Asbestos Violations

According to Statesman Journal of Oregon, Oregon State Hospital has been slapped with civil fines totaling $10,200 for asbestos violations. The penalties stem from in an incident in which hazardous amosite asbestos fibers may have been released into the air.

The Hospital hired a contractor to install a new water line dug into an old, asbestos-insulated pipeline at the Salem psychiatric facility in January, according to the state Department of Environmental Quality. A 1990 survey documented where asbestos is hidden at the 144-acre hospital campus, the pipeline being one of the places. The hospital failed to tell the contractor, Emery & Sons Construction, about the presence of asbestos.

The Department of Environmental Quality found asbestos insulation in a pile of dirt and debris next to the excavated pit. Insulation materials are considered "friable," which means they are likely to release fibers into the air when disturbed.

There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos, experts say. Inhaled fibers can lodge deep in lung tissue, increasing the risk of lung diseases, including cancer. Amosite asbestos, one of two types of asbestos found in the pipe insulation, is considered particularly hazardous.

Oregon State Hospital has until Aug. 18 to appeal regulatory fines totaling $10,200 for asbestos violations. Emery & Sons Construction has until Aug. 17 to appeal a $3,600 fine for conducting asbestos-abatement work without a license.

For more information, see the article on, Hospital fined for asbestos violations.

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