Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, December 30, 2003


Page 3


Cal-OSHA Investigating Pasadena Courthouse Conditions


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Environmental conditions at the Pasadena Courthouse are being investigated by the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the wake of complaints about falling ceiling tiles, poor air quality, and soot appearing on desks.

County Chief Administrative Office David Janssen advised county supervisors of the investigation in a memo last week. Janssen’s memo said the state investigation began with an Oct. 31 inspection in response to anonymous complaints, later determined to have originated with a Probation Department employee who works on the second floor of the building.

The inspection found “particulate material from the second floor heating ventilation, and air conditioning system was visible on some desks of Probation employees who worked below ceiling air vents in several areas of the second floor,” Janssen’s memo said. But he said testing for particles small enough to be inhaled conducted by Cal-OSHA on Nov. 24 showed no health hazard.

An inspection of the air handling system found “some deterioration inside the air handler which could account for the particulate material observed in some offices,” Janssen’s memo noted. Maintenance was conducted on Dec. 1 “to remove the additional dust and debris,” he noted.

The courthouse building “contains asbestos in the floor tiles, mastic, plaster ceilings and fireproofing on the beams and walls above the suspended ceilings,” Janssen conceded, adding that annual notifications to employees of asbestos materials contained in their workplace had not been made as required by California Health and Safety Code Secs. 25915 to 25915.5. But asbestos was not found in the air samples taken by Cal-OSHA, he said.

Falling ceiling tiles and plumbing leaks were reported between June 2002 and December 2003, but repairs were made, Janssen reported.

The Cal-OSHA final report has not been received, the CAO said. He said “temporary filter media” have been installed in ducts, and the county is “working with a duct-cleaning contractor to establish a remedy for the particulate problem.


Copyright 2003, Metropolitan News Company