The largest water provider of the New Mexico state has been fined for $144,000 due to the reason of putting their employees in danger. New Mexico Occupational Health & Safety Bureau mentioned against the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility that it has been involved in 44 different violation cases which include the insecurity of the workers as well. The amount of fine which has been put on the utility includes one third of it regarding the exposure of employees to the ozone level which is seriously dangerous for their health.
Ozone is defined as a toxic gas that can create the respiratory issues for the employees and they can even face attacks of asthma.
The employees working for the water authorities made an appeal when the problem first arose. The issue started when one of the pipes in the area of plant that works with ozone, had a minor leakage. The problem was not heard by the water authorities when workers tried to convey their message to them and after being ignored the appeal was made to OHSB.
According to the Bureau it was a serious and willful act of violation from the authorities which would mean that the water authorities were aware of the violation and yet they did not comply with the law and did not anything for the safety of the employees. It would not be wrong if we say that the biggest part of violation is that the area of working was kept in danger by the management that was capable of creating illness or accident even leading to the death of the workers.
Water Authority spokesman Davis Morris resisted the allegation arguing that the levels ozone exposure were not so high to do any kind of harm.
According to OHSB, the respirators for the ozone were not authorized and could not be rated to allow working with ozone while Morris argued that there is no such need of respirators at all and if a mistake had really happened in case of cartridge then it does not mean that it is a willful act. There is a difference in the mistake and willful violation.
At high levels, severe threat is created by the ozone exposure. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) explained the dangers of ozone;
Ozone is not tolerable for the upper and lower respiratory region. Its smell can be easily detected even it is present in low concentration and it has the ability of producing severe risks like irritation of the eyes and mucous membranes and may cause pulmonary edema at high exposure.