On March 7, 2023, the New Mexico Environment Department’s Occupational Health & Safety Bureau (OHSB) received reports of possible employee exposure to asbestos at the City of Albuquerque’s Gateway Center.  

On March 9, 2023, OHSB opened an investigation into the allegation as required by the Occupational Health and Safety Act (Act) and its corresponding regulations. The Act and regulations also require OHSB to issue citations for violations and complete an inspection report summarizing the findings of an investigation within six months of an incident. This webpage provides public access to the citations and related materials associated with OHSB’s investigation into this matter. 

Media Inquiries 

Please direct media inquiries to the NMED Communications Director, Matthew Maez, at matthew.maez@env.nm.gov.  

OHSB Inquiries 

For non-media inquiries, please contact OHSB at nmenv.oshacompliance@state.nm.us.   

Enforcement Files  

Summary of Key Events  

  • September 2, 2020: Sendero Environmental confirms the presence of asbestos at the Gibson Medical Center to the City of Albuquerque. 
  • April 2021: City of Albuquerque acquires Gibson Medical Center facility and renames it the Gibson Health Hub. 
  • May 2021: CABQ Risk Management creates an asbestos presentation with guidance information, provides it to Project Management and other members of management concerned about asbestos at the Gibson Health Hub. 
  • April 8, 2022: Havona Environmental provides a survey report to the City of Albuquerque confirming the presence of asbestos in floor tiles and mastic beneath tiles and carpet and informs management of regulatory requirements related to this hazard. 
  • April 11, 2022: Consolidated Builders of NM, LLC begins demolition of the Gateway Women’s Shelter area and observes abatement process ongoing at the neighboring UNM Suite. Employees asked their management if asbestos testing or precautions were necessary. City of Albuquerque project management stated that testing was not necessary. 
  • March 1, 2023: Keers Environmental conducts a survey of the Gateway Women’s Shelter, nearly a year after work began in a building confirmed to have asbestos.  
  • March 7, 2023: Occupational Health and Safety Bureau (OHSB) receives anonymous complaints about asbestos exposures at the Gateway Center. 
  • March 9, 2023: OHSB initiates onsite inspection and investigation, the Keers Survey results arrive and confirm the presence of asbestos in the construction area. 
  • September 1, 2023: OHSB completes their investigation, issuing Citations and Notification of Penalty. 


When and where were workers at the Gateway Center exposed to asbestos? 

Workers and visitors may have been exposed at the Gateway Women’s Shelter within the Gateway Center between April 11, 2022, and March 9, 2023. Visitors to the Winter Women’s Shelter or the Turquoise Lodge Hospital on the ground floor are also at risk of potential exposure.  

Was asbestos found in any air samples at the Gateway Center? 

No air testing was performed during the work that took place between April 11, 2022, and March 9, 2023. On March 17, 2023, OHSB performed air sampling in the area where work took place on and found no detectable levels of asbestos. DVR tested their leased space on June 9, 2023, with data showing that no asbestos detected show exposures to asbestos were well beneath all regulatory and recommended limits.  

Were vulnerable populations including the unhoused exposed while at the Gateway Center? 

Anyone who entered the New Mexico Department of Health (DOH) Turquoise Lodge Hospital and the Winter Women’s Shelter in the Gibson Health Hub between April 11, 2022, and March 9, 2023 may have been exposed. DOH testing in Turquoise Lodge did not detect asbestos. 

Has demolition and construction at the Gateway Center resumed and how are employees being protected?  

As of March 9, 2023, work was completed in the areas of the building covered by the citation. There is no indication that the City of Albuquerque and its contractors performed asbestos removal without required controls after March 9, 2023.   

Were the families of workers involved in the site demolition potentially exposed to asbestos?  

Because proper precautions such as wearing protective clothing were not followed, asbestos may have contaminated workers’ clothing and been brought home to residences while improper work was performed. 

What should I do if I think I or my family may have been exposed? 

Contact your medical provider about the potential exposure and ask for guidance. It normally takes decades for symptoms of asbestos related disease to develop. Seek medical assistance if you develop symptoms such as coughing, or shortness of breath. If you are smoking, quit. You may also contact the City of Albuquerque for more information. 

Which individuals employed by the City of Albuquerque are responsible for the workplace violations?  

OHSB has jurisdiction to hold employers accountable for violations of workplace safety requirements. In this case, the employer is the City of Albuquerque. OHSB does not issue citations to any individuals associated with the employer. Please contact the City of Albuquerque or Consolidated Builders of NM, LLC for questions about individual responsibility.   

What comes next for the investigation?  

Following the issuance of OHSB’s Citation and Notification of Penalty, the Employer must correct all violations referred to in the Citation by the dates listed and pay the proposed penalties, unless the Employer appeals the Citation by filing a Notice of Contest within the required time frame.  

The City of Albuquerque has 15 business days after receiving the citation to either pay the penalty and provide OHSB with certification of corrective action, or to file a notice of contest with the Occupational Health and Safety Review Commission. The New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Review Commission hears and rules on appeals of Citations issued by OHSB’s enforcement unit. The Commission provides notice of hearings to the public on the Environment Department website.  

How is the OHSB investigation different from a criminal investigation?   

NMED’s investigation is a civil administrative investigation, not a criminal investigation. The New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau, a bureau housed within NMED, has the authority to issue a Citation regardless of other enforcement action. Accordingly, the OHSB report is limited to workplace safety in the Bureau’s jurisdiction under the provisions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Law enforcement agencies investigate criminal acts covered by laws outside the provisions of the Act.  

If I have concerns about the safety of my workplace, what can I do?  

All employees have a right to inform their employer of workplace health and safety concerns without fear of retaliation. NMED’s OHSB investigates complaints regarding workplace health and safety and protects anonymity. If you have a concern about the safety of your workplace, or if you believe your employer has retaliated against you for your safety concern, contact OHSB at complaints.osha@state.nm.gov or call the Bureau at 505-476-8700 (or toll-free at 1-877-610-6742).  

How can I learn more about the health effects of asbestos? 

For more information about the health effects of asbestos, visit the NIH National Cancer institute website or the Center for Disease Control’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry website

New Regulations and Announcements

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Contact us

OHSB Main Phone Number: 505-476-8700

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