AECOM

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AECOM is a multi-armed engineering consultancy corporation based in the US but owning smaller companies in Australia, New Zealand, Asia and the Middle East. The company states that its major areas are providing "design and management services in the transportation, facilities, and environmental markets through a family of operating companies. AECOM also offers specialized services to the operations and maintenance, mining and power, and international development assistance sectors." [1]

AECOM has a branch dedicated to US government services (AGS), which includes joint projects with the US Department of Defense.

AECOM also claims it has been involved in assisting "regions in need of democracy, governance, humanitarian, and other support." It also includes "peace building" amongst its "skills." "Our broad-based consulting services include assistance with public administration, municipal finance, political transition, humanitarian response, and peace building."[1]

AECOM manages the Nevada Nuclear Test Site, along with Northrop Grumman, CH2M Hill, and Nuclear Fuel Services.[2]

Federal Contracting and Opposition to Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order

An AECOM executive sits on the board of the Professional Services Council (PSC), a trade association. PSC is a major opponent of the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, an order issued by President Obama in 2014 that aims to ensure that federal contractors comply with federal wage laws, health and safety standards, and civil rights laws.[3]

An investigation by the Center for Media and Democracy of OSHA inspection records found that numerous corporations (and/or their subsidiaries)--including AECOM--whose executives sit on the board of PSC had been cited for serious and repeat violations of OSHA standards from 2013-2015 that would be reportable under the EO. A "serious" violation indicates "a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result" from a hazard, a "willful" violation is cited when "evidence shows either an intentional violation of the Act or plain indifference to its requirements," and a "repeat" violation indicates the business "has been cited previously for a substantially similar condition."[4]

In 2014, AECOM generated $1.25 billion in revenue from the federal government.[5]

Between 2013-2015 several of AECOM’s subsidiary companies and related entities, including AECOM Technical Services Inc.[6], URS Corporation[7] , URS Federal Technical Services[7][6], URS Energy & Construction[7][6], and the Cleveland Wrecking Company[8][7] received some 33 OSHA citations: 21 "Serious" and 12 "Other-than-Serious," and $115,115 in penalties, some of which remain under contest or are pending abatement or penalty payment.[9][10] These violations are described in detail below. This count does not include a tragic death resulting from safety violations in 2012, which would not be reportable under the Executive Order as it occurred outside the EO’s three-year look-back period.

AECOM

Exposure to Cadmium Hazard
In response to a complaint, OSHA conducted an investigation on March 5, 2013 at AECOM in Chambersburg, PA. OSHA originally issued 6 "Serious" citations and $30,000 in fines, which were reduced in a formal settlement to 5 "Other" violations and $20,000 in fines for violating multiple provisions of OSHA’s comprehensive standard to protect workers from exposure to cadmium,[11] a known cancer-causing substance.[12] These included failure to control exposures below the allowable limit; failure to prevent handling of contaminated uniforms; and failure to properly train workers about these dangers.[11]

AECOM Subsidiaries

Death in Marcus Hook, PA in 2015
49 year-old Jeffrey Shannon[13] died on March 30, 2015 at Sunoco Inc.'s Marcus Hook Industrial Complex in Pennsylvania, when a massive 1,200 foot pylon struck him. The facility was being converted from an oil refinery to a natural gas storage and processing plant. Shannon was employed by an AECOM subsidiary, AECOM Technical Services, Inc., which was a contractor at the site.[14]
OSHA issued citations[15] to AECOM Technical Services, Inc. for 2 "Serious" violations and proposed a $14,000 penalty, the maximum allowed. The company was cited for failing to suspend the pile driving operation when tops were being cut off of already driven pile,16 and inadequate safety training. As of January 2016, the company was contesting the violations.
Death in Bakersfield, CA in 2012, yet OSHA Violations Continue
The Bakersfield Californian reported that Luis Roberto Minjarez, 51, of Los Angeles died in 2012 after he fell from an elevated lift while working for AECOM's subsidiary, Cleveland Wrecking Company at Pacific Gas & Electric Co.'s abandoned Kern Power Plant.[16]
Cal-OSHA spokesman Peter Melton said Minjarez was torch cutting beams in a boiler room while he was lifted about 50 feet high in an aerial basket. "The beam collapsed and knocked over the basket that he was in and so the employee fell," Melton said. The OSHA investigation revealed that one day before the accident, the company:
...partially removed a section of the tank girder…[which] contributed to the instability of the tank. The tank wall section that was cut just prior to the accident was approximately 40 feet high and did not have any lateral support.[17]
The company received $20,250 in penalties and was cited for 4 "Other-than-Serious" violations and for 1 "Serious" violation of Cal-OSHA's standard 1735 M01 for allowing a wall section, more than one story in height to stand alone without lateral bracing, unless a civil engineer substantiated its capability to stand without lateral support.[18][19] The detailed OSHA accident summary is available here.[20]
While violations occurring in 2012 would not be reportable under the terms of the Executive Order, this incident is described to provide background and context for the subsequent reportable violations of this AECOM subsidiary.
Cleveland Wrecking Company has continued to garner violations in the years since the tragic death in Bakersfield in 2012:[21]
1/28/2014[22] A Cleveland Wrecking Company operation in San Diego, CA was cited by Cal-OSHA for 2 "Other-than-Serious" violations and fined $340. The company was fined for violating Cal- OSHA's standards which requires the employer to have a written plan to provide emergency medical services18 and to implement effective emergency response procedures.
04/24/2013[23] In response to a complaint investigation, Cleveland Wrecking Company's operation in Antioch, CA was fined $5,875 and given 3 citations by Cal-OSHA, including one "Serious" violation under Cal-OSHA's standard for failing to provide traffic control to protect workers when their worksite encroaches on public streets and highways. It was cited for 2 "Other-than-Serious" violations for failing to implement effective emergency procedures to respond to signs and symptoms of possible heat illness; and to contact emergency medical services and transport employees to a place where they can be reached by an emergency medical provider.
URS Federal Technical Services Experiences Significant Problems at Barstow, CA Facility
01/13/2015[24] Following a planned inspection at the site of another AECOM subsidiary, URS Federal Technical Services in Barstow, CA, the company was cited for $62,900 in penalties and 18 "Serious" and 1 "Other" violation of multiple OSHA standards. These included failure to provide access for workers to safety information about hazardous chemicals; multiple violations of protections from electrical hazards; failure to provide proper exit signs and to maintain portable fire extinguishers; dangerous flooring; and failure to properly guard dangerous industrial equipment. These violations are being contested.

Related Articles: Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces

Danger Osha violators600px.jpg

Key Articles

PR Watch Series on OSHA Violators

Reports

Other Resources

Involvement in the Toxic Sludge Industry

AECOM traffics in toxic sludge. In the company's own words, "We are experts in water, wastewater, water resources, watershed concepts and wet weather."[25] Wastewater treatment plants produce a growing and continuous mountain of hazardous waste, i.e. sewage sludge.

Sewage sludge, often called by the Orwellian euphemism of "biosolids" chosen in a PR contest by the Water Environment Federation (WEF) in June of 1991, can contain such hazardous chemicals and pathogens as Dioxins and Furans, Flame Retardants, Metals, Organochlorine Pesticides, 1,2-Dibromo-3-Chloropropane (DBCP), Naphthalene, Triclosan, Nonylphenols, Phthalates, Nanosilver, and thousands more substances.[26] Gasification-- using sludge to generate methanol or energy by anaerobic digestion-- is described by the EPA's Hugh Kaufman as the "most environmentally sound approach" to the disposal of toxic sludge, "but also the most expensive." It leaves behind, however, a reduced volume of "biosolids" which, although pasteurized by the high temperature processes of anaerobic digestion, still contain the other contaminants. This toxic sludge is then packaged and sold as "fertilizer" or spread directly on local crops.

Exhibitor at 2011 BioCycle 11th Annual Conference on "Renewable Energy from Organics Recycling"

AECOM was a participant at the 2011 BioCycle 11th Annual Conference on "Renewable Energy from Organics Recycling." BioCycle Magazine is a publication serving the interests of the sewage sludge industry.[27]

One of AECOM's project directors is Jay Kemp, who, according to his biography in the conference program, "has 30 years of experience in water and wastewater treatment, having worked for a public utility, consulting engineers and an equipment manufacturer. . . . He was the 2005 recipient of the WEF George I. Schroepfer Medal for Innovative Wastewater Facility Design."[28] WEF is the sewage sludge industry's main trade, lobby and public relations organization, with over 41,000 members and a multi-million-dollar budget that supports a 100-member staff.

Kemp spoke on a panel about "Codigestion At Wastewater Treatment Plants" at the conference. His segment was entitled, "Janesville (WI) WWTP [(Waste Water Treatment Plant)] Embarks on Multiple Uses for Biogas."[28] The Center for Media and Democracy attended the panel.

According to Kemp, the newly updated Janesville plant has a design capacity of 19.8 million gallons of sewage a day to serve a population of more than 60,000. It uses an activated sludge process incorporating biological nutrient removal (BNR) and a thermophilic-mesophilic anaerobic digestion process. The city is purchasing several vehicles that will run on the gas harvested from the process. Eventually, he said, they would like to "retrofit the biosolids hauling and spreading trucks to CNG as well." He mentioned no plans to dispose of the toxic sludge remaining after the digesting process in a safer manner.

According to a 2009 press release, "AECOM is. . . helping state and municipal authorities in Wisconsin revitalize valuable resources suffering from degradation, including projects in Racine, Appleton, and Fond du Lac."[29] (Coincidentally, the sewage sludge industry refers to the processes of using heat, chemicals and bacterial treatments to detoxify 42 percent of sewage components as "biodegradation.") AECOM has six offices in Wisconsin.[30]

People

Related Companies

AECOM-related companies include:

Contact Details

555 South Flower Street, Suite 3700
Los Angeles, California 90071-2300 USA
Phone: 1 213 593 8000
Email: info AT aecom.com
Website: http://www.aecom.com
Contact Form: http://www.aecom.com/Contact+Us

Resources

Other SourceWatch Resources

References

  1. AECOM, Markets and Services, corporate website
  2. National Security Technologies, LLC, About, corporate website, accessed November 1, 2011
  3. President Barack Obama, "Executive Order --Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces," government document, July 31, 2014.
  4. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, "Inspection Documentation," government documentation, accessed October 2015.
  5. AECOM, FY 2015 Form 10-K, SEC filing, November 25, 2015. P. 8.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 AECOM, "AECOM's FY 2015 Form 10-K: Exhibit 21.1," SEC filing, November 25, 2015, accessed February, 2016.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 AECOM, "AECOM FY 2015 Form 10-K," SEC filing, November 25, 2015, accessed February, 2016. P.2.
  8. Cleveland Wrecking Company, "Cleveland Wrecking Company: About," corporate website, accessed February, 2016.
  9. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, "Search results: "AECOM"," inspection case records, database accessed February 2016.
  10. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, "Search results: "Cleveland Wrecking"," inspection case records, database accessed February 2016.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Occupational Safety and Health Administration, "Inspection: 893355.015 - Aecom," inspection case record, database accessed January 2016.
  12. National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, "Cadmium," March 20, 2015, fact sheet, accessed January, 2016
  13. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, "Inspection: 1050255.015 - Aecom Technical Services, Inc. Dba Urs Corporation," inspection case record, accessed January, 2016.
  14. Susan Phillips, "Worker dies in accident at Sunoco's Delaware County refinery," NPR, March 31, 2015.
  15. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, "Inspection: 1050255.015 - Aecom Technical Services, Inc. Dba Urs Corporation," inspection case record, accessed January, 2016.
  16. Rachel Cook,"Worker dies after fall at PG&E's Kern Power Plant," The Bakersfield Californian, June 19, 2012.
  17. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, "Inspection: 314829680 - Cleveland Wrecking Company," inspection case record, accessed January, 2016.
  18. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, "Inspection: 314829680 - Cleveland Wrecking Company," inspection case record, January, 2016.
  19. State of California Department of Industrial Relations, "California Code of Regulations, Title 8, Section 1735. Demolishing Buildings," Code of Regulations, accessed January, 2016.
  20. Occupation Safety and Health Administration, "Inspection: 314829680 - Cleveland Wrecking Company," inspection case record, accessed January 2016.
  21. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, "Establishment Search Results: Cleveland Wrecking Company," database search, January 2016.
  22. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, "Inspection: 1015296.015 - Cleveland Wrecking Company," inspection case record, accessed January, 2016.
  23. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, "Inspection: 316817246 - Cleveland Wrecking Company Dba Urs Resources, Llc," inspection case record, accessed January, 2016.
  24. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, "Inspection: 1020632.015 - Urs Federal Technical Services, Inc.," inspection case record, accessed January, 2016.
  25. AECOM, Water, corporate website, accessed October 31, 2011
  26. TNSSS: EPA-822-R-08-016 and EPA-822-R-08-018. Published by EPA, January 2009.
  27. BioCycle, Exhibitor Directory, publisher's website, accessed November 3, 2011
  28. 28.0 28.1 BioCycle, "11th Annual Conference on Renewable Energy from Organics Recycling" Program, October 31-November 2, 2011, on file with CMD (part, but not the biographies, is online here)
  29. AECOM, AECOM Captures 2009 APWA Award, corporate press release, August 25, 2009
  30. AECOM, Offices & Contacts: Wisconsin, corporate website, accessed October 31, 2011