A construction company in Illinois faces $1,792,000 in fines for willfully exposing eight workers to asbestos. Many of the workers were not from the US and were working for the company using a special temporary visa.

Allegedly, the employer forced the employees to to remove materials containing asbestos while they were working on renovating a former elementary school.

The assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health stated, “Kehrer Brothers Construction brought non-English speaking workers to the US and knowingly exposed them to asbestos. Kehrer also threatened to fire his employees if they spoke with our investigators.This is outrageous, illegal behavior. We at OSHA will do everything in our power to ensure this employer stops endangering his employees.”

OSHA cited the employer for 16 egregious, nine willful, and six serious violations. In addition to the asbestos exposure the employer also did not require the workers to wear proper respirators, use appropriate safety methods, or train the workers about the dangers of asbestos.

To learn more visit the OSHA news release.