PHILIPPI (AP) - Federal officials said Thursday they intend to fine Sodexho Inc. $81,000 for health and safety violations that occurred when workers were removing asbestos earlier this year at Alderson-Broaddus College in Philippi.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said the violations were found during a March inspection, and 12 were labeled serious. That means the employer knew or should have known the violation created the "substantial probability" of death or serious physical harm.
The violations included: failing to provide respirators, protective clothing and training for employees; failing to inform workers of the location and quantities of material containing asbestos; and failing to provide workers with information on how to voluntarily use dust masks and respirators.
Sodexo, based in Gaithersburg, Md., employs about 25 groundskeepers, housekeepers and security workers at Alderson-Broaddus College. It can either comply with or contest the citations.
Spokesman Greg Yost said the company has reviewed the violations and will meet with OSHA next week.
"The safety of our employees, customers and clients is our top priority," he said. "We are cooperating with OSHA and look forward to a constructive discussion."
Additional violations included failure to: ensure a competent person supervised the work; monitor daily employee exposure; properly dispose of ceiling tiles; and equip vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters.
"Asbestos work poses serious safety and health risks to workers, including lung disease and other disorders," said Prentice Cline, director of OSHA's Charleston Area Office. "Sodexho must immediately correct these violations to ensure that its employees have a safe and healthful work environment."