Baltimore Sun (03/16/12) Yvonne Wenger
The Public Justice Center has filed a complaint with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration against WMS Solutions LLC, a staffing firm that provides workers to contractors and subcontractors in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, for failing to properly protect workers from asbestos. The complaint says workers are required to pay for medical exams, training, and protective equipment, all of which are required by OSHA to be provided by the employer. Workers who did not pay for these in advance saw the costs deducted from their paychecks.
The complaint, which names around 10 contractors and subcontractors, also states that workers at two sites had to wash and reuse respirator filters while other workers were given new filters twice per week. Moreover, WMS and the subcontractors are accused of not providing shower facilities for decontamination purposes and for misleading government inspectors with showers not connected to a water source. One employee of WMS says he was terminated after six years of employment for complaining about working conditions to OSHA. Legislation being considered by Maryland lawmakers would enhance protections for workers handling asbestos and hike penalties for companies violating environmental laws.