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AKOSH Fines Anchorage Company $70,000 for Asbestos Violations

JUNEAU, Alaska-Northern Lights Center, LLC will pay $70,000 in penalties as a settlement of two willful citations for alleged employee exposure to asbestos in connection with a building renovation project in Anchorage.

The citations were issued by Alaska Occupational Safety and Health on Sept. 29 after an investigation revealed that the employer knew that the building contained asbestos, failed to perform an adequate asbestos exposure assessment, failed to ensure proper exposure control methods were used and failed to properly warn employees about the asbestos hazards prior to performing demolition activities.

The State of Alaska made no concessions in this settlement agreement.

"Asbestos exposure is a significant health hazard and we are committed to making sure that workers in Alaska are not exposed to those hazards," Labor Commissioner Click Bishop said.

Buildings constructed before 1981 must be considered to have asbestos containing material in thermal system insulation (applied to pipes, boilers, breeching, tanks, ducts or other structural components to prevent heat loss or gain), in sprayed on and troweled-on surfacing materials and in asphalt and vinyl flooring materials.

Building owners and employers are required to take measures to identify and mark asbestos containing material and to avoid exposing employees to hazards associated with airborne asbestos fibers.

Asbestos is an excellent fire proofing material, but when torn apart or disturbed it can expose employees to airborne fibers that can cause serious health hazards. There are various rules that require written exposure control plans and specially certified and trained workers to perform asbestos abatement work.

Call 907-269-4972 or go online for "Asbestos Abatement Statutes and Regulations" at
http://labor.alaska.gov/lss/forms/aa-stats-reg-pamp.pdf for more information.

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