Company fined for asbestos violations at Holyoke Medical Center

  • Holyoke Medical Center GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 10/22/2020 12:32:10 PM

HOLYOKE — A Ludlow company was fined $10,000 by the state Department of Environmental Protection for violations discovered during work to remove asbestos at Holyoke Medical Center last year.

The fine came after DEP personnel conducted an unannounced inspection on Oct. 4 while employees of Compass Restoration Services were conducting asbestos abatement in two areas of the hospital. Several violations of Massachusetts asbestos regulations were observed, the DEP said in statement.

Asbestos-containing material was stored in a hallway outside of a containment area at the first-floor blood-drawing laboratory, inspectors found. Compass employees also had failed to completely wet asbestos-containing materials, such as floor tiles and sheetrock, during removal, according to the DEP.

The DEP also determined that employees of the company were removing asbestos-containing floor tile from a third-floor area without notifying the state in advance.

“Asbestos is a known carcinogen and following required work practices is imperative to protect hospital employees, patients and visitors. Additionally, Compass failed to notify MassDEP of all areas of asbestos abatement at the hospital,” Michael Gorski, director of MassDEP’s Western Regional Office in Springfield, said in a statement. Compass did correct the violations on the date of inspection, he noted.

A Compass Restoration Services employee reached by phone Wednesday declined to comment.

Rebecca MacGregor, spokeswoman for Holyoke Medical Center, said in an emailed statement: “There were no patients or staff present in the areas where the violations occurred, and at no time was the health and safety of patients or staff at risk. The contractor corrected the violations immediately.”

Compass Restoration Services will pay $6,500 of the assessed penalty, according to the DEP, with the balance suspended provided that the company retrains its employees.


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