WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Filed Under:

Asbestos Report Finds Poor Conditions For Workers

Play associated audio
Ernest Ojito presents the findings of his asbestos investigation Nov. 16.
Jessica Gould
Ernest Ojito presents the findings of his asbestos investigation Nov. 16.

After a year-long undercover investigation, a local college student is alleging safety violations at asbestos-abatement companies throughout the region. 

Montgomery College student Ernest Ojito says he started working construction a year ago to cover tuition costs and help support his family. He left the job determined to fight dangerous working conditions.

"I’m talking about improper disposal of lead. I’m talking about making workers do demos on walls with live circuits in them to cut corners," Ojito says. "I’m talking about little or no training for these workers and little or no protective equipment. And I’m talking about contamination all at the same time."

Ojito’s investigation -- outlined in a report by the Mid-Atlantic Regional Organizing Coalition -- alleges violations at a half dozen companies in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. (Ojito was hired by the coalition about six months into his investigation.)

Virginia Delegate Adam Ebbin (D) says it's time for action, and is calling for the state to take three steps.

"One is adequate enforcement of existing regulations. Secondly, adherence to federal safety requirements including proper masks and decontamination showers on site to wash away asbestos," Ebbin says. "And thirdly, we need more than just three inspectors in the entire commonwealth of Virginia. 

But Anthony Farella, president of Potomac Abatement, one of the companies named in the report,– says there's a safety inspector on every project. 

"Every safety procedure is followed," Farella says, adding he suspects the labor union has another mission in mind.  "We believe it is just a target of the non-union companies," he adds.

Labor coalition director Steve Lanning called Farella's claim outrageous, in a statement, and said the coalition is committed to protecting all workers. 

NPR

Woody Allen Presents First TV Series, 'Crisis In Six Scenes,' On Amazon

Woody Allen's first foray into television, Crisis in Six Scenes, debuts on Amazon Friday. The series is a six-part comedy set in the 1960s with a cast that includes Miley Cyrus.
NPR

Our Robot Overlords Are Now Delivering Pizza, And Cooking It On The Go

A Silicon Valley startup wants to use technology to solve the pizza paradox. It's a food that's meant to be delivered but never tastes quite as good upon arrival.
WAMU 88.5

The Politics Hour - September 30, 2016

D.C.'s statehood activists rally while the Council opens debate on a state constitution. An appeals court reviews Virginia's voter ID law. And Prince George's County contends with a spate of incidents involving sexual abuse of school kids.

NPR

Our Robot Overlords Are Now Delivering Pizza, And Cooking It On The Go

A Silicon Valley startup wants to use technology to solve the pizza paradox. It's a food that's meant to be delivered but never tastes quite as good upon arrival.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.