Illinois construction companies face heavy fines for exposing workers to asbestos

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Two Illinois companies face heavy fines for exposing workers to deadly asbestos fibers.

Joseph Kehrer and two companies affiliated with him, D7 Roofing and Kehrer Brothers, violated numerous health and safety standards, according to an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), part of the U.S. Department of Labor.

Joseph Kehrer and Kehrer Brothers face fines of $1,792,000 for willful exposure of workers to asbestos after inspectors found that Kehrer and company supervisors ordered employees to remove materials that contained asbestos during the renovation of a school.

Many of the workers were foreign workers hired temporarily by Kehrer under the H-2B visa program. According to OSHA investigators, Kehrer knowingly exposed non-English-speaking workers to asbestos and threatened to fire them if they spoke to investigators.

Kehrer and Kehrer Brothers were cited for 16 egregious violations, nine willful violations and six serious violations. The investigation found that in addition to knowingly exposing workers to asbestos, the companies and Kehrer failed to provide proper equipment and training for asbestos removal. OSHA found that the companies also failed to create a required decontamination area and failed to use appropriate methods to minimize asbestos exposure. Kehrer Brothers was also placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program. The companies were given 15 days to contest the findings.

Paul Greenberg is a Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit http://www.briskmanandbriskman.com/.

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