In California, three men who supervised a nonprofit organization are facing prison time after being charged with violating state and federal asbestos laws. The three executives in charge of the nonprofit organization Firm Build each pled guilty to one felony count of breaking the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants.
As supervisors of Firm Build, the men were responsible for making sure that the safety and health of the students being trained was top priority. Instead, the executives used nine high school students to remove asbestos from a contaminated building, and they were negligently exposed to asbestos fibers during the removal process. The students were not instructed to wear protective gear and did not use safe asbestos removal procedures. According to California state law, only licensed, trained professionals are allowed to handle or remove asbestos.
U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California, Benjamin Wagner, hopes the jail time serves as a warning to others.
“Exposing student workers and subcontractors at a construction site to hazardous asbestos without any precautions, and doing so in order to cut corners and save money, is more than reckless — it is criminal.”
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