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OSHA Investigation on Lead Exposure at Oxford Mills Concluded

12/13/2013 | Construction Blog

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently concluded an investigation into possible lead exposure at a high profile construction project in the Kensington section of Philadelphia. The developer agreed to pay $3,000 in fines with no admission of liability. Its remediation subcontractor, however, was cited for 22 separate violations relating to lead exposure and hit with $34,000 in fines.

Construction began in the spring of 2013. In early April, sandblasting started to remove all the paint in the 19th century building. Workers on site found it difficult to work in some areas and reported that the amount of dust in the air made it hard to breathe. Reports are that it looked at times like portions of the building were on fire because of the amount of dust billowing out of the building like smoke. While the developer maintains that the remediation was complete at least 2 weeks before a large ground breaking ceremony with much fanfare took place at the project site, others in the area at the time remain concerned this is not the case.

For its part, OSHA opened a formal investigation and concluded that there were high lead levels at the project site. At least one worker was blood tested and the results came back showing high levels of lead in his system. Based on news reports though, it is unclear whether the worker – who was in a financial dispute with the developer – had high lead levels because of his work on this site or another project.

All the parties, including OSHA, have agreed to conclude the investigation and settle the matter. The issue behind them, the developer now seems to have the project back on track.