UPDATE: Read House owner says asbestos investigation issues resolved
Last year, state regulators said they were investigating employee complaints about exposure to asbestos at the Read House in downtown Chattanooga during a $20 million makeover.
UPDATE: The Tennessee Occupational Safety & Health Administration (TOSHA) issued the following statement to Channel 3 regarding the asbestos investigation at The Read House:
"Inside a building the age of The Read House OSHA standards require the owner to assume pipe insulation and other building materials contain asbestos and any work with these materials be conducted in a specific manner to assure employees are protected. A survey of the building did discover some pipe insulation contained asbestos. The material was in a pipe chase that guests would not be exposed to. The presence of this material is very common in buildings constructed during the time the Read House was constructed.
"Tennessee OSHA determined personnel working inside The Read House did not approach maintenance activities with the presumption of the presence of asbestos. The necessary precautions, as required by OSHA standards, were not taken and Tennessee OSHA issued citations and penalties as a result. Tennessee OSHA did not document actual employee exposure to asbestos.
"The owners of The Read House did not admit to any wrongdoing, but agreed to accept the findings in the interest of settling the inspection with Tennessee OSHA. They agreed to correct each of the items cited and comply with the standards going forward.
"During the conference with the employer, Tennessee OSHA deleted a recordkeeping violation, and associated $500 penalty, for failure to provide the OSHA 300 injury and illness log within 4 hours and reduced the fine for the remaining 11 violations from $4000 to $3510."
PREVIOUS UPDATE: The Read House's owners said Monday they and state environmental officials have resolved issues related to an asbestos investigation and that citations have been downgraded to "other than serious."
The Tennessee Occupational Safety & Health Administration (TOSHA) agreed to eliminate one citation, downgraded all remaining citations, and also reduced fines, according to the property's ownership group.
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