Region 2 News Release: NY 113
Friday, January 29, 1999
Contact: Chester J. Fultz, (212) 337-2319
BRONX, NEW YORK, HOUSING MANAGEMENT FIRM CITED BY OSHA
FOR EXPOSING EMPLOYEES TO ALLEGED SAFETY AND HEALTH HAZARDS
AT CO-OP CITY COMPLEX; $111,500 IN PENALTIES PROPOSED
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited the firm that manages the Co-op City apartment complex in the Bronx and proposed penalties of $111,500 against the firm for two alleged willful violations, 17 alleged serious violations, one alleged other-than-serious violation, and one alleged repeat violation of OSHA standards. The company, Riverbay Corporation, of 2049 Bartow Avenue, Bronx, New York, has until February 19 to contest the citations.
According to OSHA area director Lisa Levy, the action results from an investigation conducted following an incident at a Co-op City building maintenance shop in which several employees were made ill by solvent fumes and were taken to a local hospital. Riverbay Corporation employs about 900 workers in various cabinet refinishing and restoration, carpentry, plumbing, plaster, and other maintenance shops to support the upkeep of the Co-op City apartment complex. The shop where the fumes were released is not in a residential building, and none of the violations affected residents.
OSHA alleges that the company willfully violated OSHA standards by failing to ensure that employees wore required eye protection and by failing to train them in the hazards associated with the chemicals in the workplace. The willful violations carry a proposed penalty of $57,000.
The alleged serious violations for which the employer was cited included:
The serious violations carry a total proposed penalty of $44,500.
failure to properly inspect hoists;
failure to properly store containers of flammable liquids;
failure to develop lockout-tagout procedures to prevent the accidental start-up of machines being serviced or repaired;
failure to provide an emergency eye-wash;
failure to properly secure or anchor machines;
failure to reduce compressed air used for cleaning to less than 30 psi;
failure to properly ground electrical equipment;
failure to keep fire exits unlocked, to keep the route to exits clear, to have signs indicating how to get to the nearest exit, and to locate exits so that the path of travel was not toward a high-hazard area.
The firm was also cited for failure to keep the work space around electric equipment clear of debris or obstruction, an alleged other-than-serious violation.
Earlier, in November, 1998, Riverbay was charged with failure to properly guard a table saw and equip it with kickback protection, an alleged repeat violation. A repeat violation is one for which an employer has been previously cited for the same or a substantially similar condition and the citation has become a final order of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The firm had previously been cited for this condition in November, 1995. The repeat violation carried a proposed penalty of $10,000, and the firm has contested the citation.
A willful violation is defined by OSHA as one committed with an intentional disregard for, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSHA 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 Hasbrouck Heights area office, located at Teterboro Airport Professional Building, 500 Route 17, Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, telephone (201) 288-1700.
This information will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request.
Voice phone:(212) 337-2319; TDD phone: 800-347-8029; OASAM TDD message referral phone number: 800-326-2577.