Region 2 News Release: NY 118
OSHA CITES INS DETENTION FACILITY IN MANHATTAN FOR ALLEGED SAFETY AND HEALTH VIOLATIONS
February 23, 2000
Contact: Chester J. Fultz
The U. S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited the U. S. Immigration and Naturalization Service's prison detention facility at 201 Varick Street in Manhattan for two alleged willful, ten alleged serious, and one alleged other-than-serious violation of OSHA safety and health standards.
According to OSHA area director Robert D. Kulick, the citations result from an inspection of the detention facility conducted from August 19 through August 31, 1999, following a formal employee complaint that workers at the detention center were not provided with adequate respirators to protect them from tuberculosis exposure.
OSHA alleges that the INS is responsible for two alleged willful violations of OSHA's respiratory protection standard for failure to develop and implement a written respiratory protection program, and failure to provide employees with proper fit test for their respirators, as well as medical evaluations. If the employer were in the private sector, the alleged willful violations would carry a total proposed penalty of $80,000.
The Immigration Service also received citations for the following alleged serious violations:
- failure to maintain fire exits.
- failure to maintain sprinkler heads.
- failure to properly label exit doors.
- failure to post "Not an Exit" signs on non-exit doors.
- failure to prevent employee exposure to live electrical parts.
- failure to provide correctly sized body armor to employees.
- failure to follow proper housekeeping regulations.
- failure to provide employees with fire extinguisher training.
- failure to implement lockout/tagout procedures.
- failure to develop and implement a hazard communication program.
If the employer were in the private sector, the alleged serious violations would carry a total proposed penalty of $32,500.
OSHA additionally cited the INS for not maintaining the required OSHA logs of accidents, injuries and illnesses.
A willful violation is defined by OSHA as one committed with an intentional disregard for, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSH Act and regulations. A serious violation is defined as a condition which exists where there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result. An other-than-serious violation is a hazardous condition that would probably not cause death or serious physical harm, but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees.
The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Manhattan area office, located at 6 World Trade Center, Room 881, New York, N. Y. Telephone: (212) 466-2481.
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