Region 2 News Release: 11-517-NEW/BOS 2011-140
April 19, 2011
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
US Labor Department's OSHA cites Brooklyn, NY, property management
company for violations at Flatbush Gardens apartment complex
Maintenance workers exposed to sewage, lead, asbestos and electrical hazards
NEW YORK – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Renaissance Equity Holdings for 20 alleged violations of workplace safety and health standards affecting maintenance workers at the Flatbush Gardens apartment complex located at 3301 Foster Ave. in Brooklyn. The property management company faces a total of $51,100 in proposed fines following OSHA inspections conducted in response to employee complaints.
"Our inspections found maintenance workers exposed to a variety of health and safety hazards while performing their duties, including stripping paint, removing drywall and clearing basements of raw sewage that had backed up during heavy rains," said Kay Gee, OSHA's Manhattan area director. "The violations uncovered are basic safety and health issues that should have been addressed and were not. We expect thorough, effective and expeditious corrective action."
OSHA found that Renaissance Equity Holdings failed to keep basements clear of raw sewage; provide protective equipment such as waders to employees required to enter those basements; determine the presence of and inform employees about asbestos contained in pipe insulation; provide employees with asbestos awareness training; conduct an exposure assessment for lead; train workers involved in stripping paint and replacing drywall about lead hazards; guard basement windows to prevent the entry of rodents and vermin; and have a hazard communication program and training to inform employees about the hazardous chemicals with which they work. Additional violations included a broken stepladder, uncovered floor holes and several electrical hazards. These conditions resulted in the issuance of 16 serious citations with $48,300 in fines. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The company also was issued four other-than-serious citations, with $2,800 in fines, for failing to accurately record all on-the-job injuries and illnesses. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
"One means of preventing hazards such as these is for employers to establish an injury and illness prevention program through which workers and management jointly work to identify and eliminate hazardous conditions on a continual basis," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.
Renaissance Equity Holdings has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Manhattan Area Office; telephone 212-620-3200. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.