OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov.
March 6, 1996
Dear [Name Withheld]:
This is a final response to your letters to Hillary Clinton and Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor. Your letters concerned working conditions at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City.
Investigation into this matter revealed the following information. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Manhattan Area Office, in response to your earlier complaints, proposed and conducted a joint inspection of this site with the New York State Department of Labor's Office of Public Employee Safety and Health (PESH). The inspection that included air sampling was initiated in March, 1995.
Per our conversation with Mr. Gary Rosnowski, Manhattan Area Office Area Director, we learned that a response to your recent Freedom of Information Act request has been prepared and will be sent under separate cover from that office. That response will contain information related to the inspection referenced above, including inspection results.
In addition, in correspondence dated June 5, 1995 from Ms. Patricia K. Clark, Regional Administrator, to Senator Alphonse D'Amato, Ms. Clark explained that the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City is now under the jurisdiction of PESH. OSHA does not have legal authority to enter the premises and conduct investigations. Hence, any further concerns or questions that involve the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center must be addressed to PESH at the address provided below.
New York State Department of Labor
Office of Public Employee
Safety and Health (PESH), 1 Main Street, Room 867
Brooklyn, New York 11201
Telephone: (718) 797-7673
We appreciate your concern for safety and health in the workplace.
John B. Miles, Jr., Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs
November 29, 1995
Ms. Hillary Clinton
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Ms. Clinton
My name is [Name Withheld] and I wrote to you in April about the exhaust emissions problem at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center of the City of New York.
Since that time a lot has happened.
1. The people at the Center directly responsible for this scandal over the course of the last 9 years, including the documented physical collapse of 2 workers, the undocumented collapse of 2 others I am personally aware of, the last one occurring this year, and the daily, unconscionable exposure of hundreds of others to elevated levels of carbon monoxide and other noxious fumes that have caused them to experience alarming discomforts ranging from:
..."headache, dizziness, lethargy, nausea, loss of appetite."
...cited in one of the enclosed Health Department documents and:
..."headaches (n=11); drowsiness (n=11); dizziness (n=4);
weakness (n=3); redness of skin (n=3); burning eyes/skin (n=1); skin pallor (n=1); and difficulty breathing (n=1)."
...in another, as well as working conditions cited at one point in yet another as being:
..."immediately dangerous to life and health."
...and the documented certainty of elevated incidence of heart disease and cancer from long term exposure to these toxic substances, have been given promotions by the Pataki administration. Myles McGrane the former Director of Operations for Ogden Allied is now the Vice President of the building and Dennis Mancini has been promoted to Mr. McGrane's old job of Director of Operations.
2. The Pataki administration has, for the moment, successfully broken the Unions in the building and instituted an oppressive, almost medieval system of work rules over it's new employees that effectively stifle all dissent with the ominous threat of lessened employment and immediate firings.
3. 37 new Health Department documents have recently been discovered that bring the murky goings on here into even further relief.
4. The local offices of the Department of Labor/OSHA have shown themselves to be utterly ineffectual in dealing with this problem and protecting workers from reprisals by management, and may actually have intentionally aided the Center's management in covering it up.
The last statement is a serious charge, but these documents and their actions do appear to support it.
More than ever Ms. Clinton, we need your help.
I hope you will subject these papers to the closest scrutiny and then act forthrightly to do what the Department of Labor/OSHA is supposed to do; namely to protect the health and welfare of working people.