This case involves a worker that was removing lead paint and asbestos from a facility. She was supplied with gloves to use that extended up to the middle of her forearm. However, the worker suffered significant chemical burns on her hands. It was alleged that the gloves that she was provided did not offer adequate protection from the hazardous chemicals. An expert in lead and asbestos abatement was sought to speak to standards for supplying employees with adequate personal protection equipment.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Please describe your experience in the abatement of hazardous chemicals, such as lead and asbestos.
- 2. What is the duty of the employer, if any, to provide adequate PPE to employees handling hazardous chemicals?
Expert Witness Response E-309199
The abatement firm was likely stripping the paint with either an Alkaline based paint stripper or a citrus-based acid-based stripper. If not wearing the proper PPE, a person will most certainly get a chemical burn. There are numerous laws (OSHA 29 CFR 1926.62, 29 CFR 1910) as well as manufacturer’s recommended procedures on how to use these products. It sounds like several of these were ignored/violated. This is not to mention language in the HUD guidelines that speak specifically about the use of chemical paint strippers. All of these discuss the associated dangers of these products if not used properly. The employer has a duty to comply with OSHA and with the firm license with the state which I am confident these mention compliance with OSHA and HUD guidelines/protocol.