May 1, 2007
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074
NEW YORK -- A Queens, N.Y., residential complex's failure to protect its employees against asbestos hazards has resulted in a total of $117,000 in proposed fines from the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Parkway Village Equities Corp., 81-26 150th St., was cited for nine alleged violations of health and safety standards following an OSHA inspection begun Nov. 1, 2006, in response to a complaint.
Parkway employees whose duties routinely required them to enter crawlspaces known to contain asbestos or presumed asbestos-containing material were not provided with required safeguards. Specifically, OSHA found that Parkway did not monitor the employees' exposure levels; inform them of the presence, location and quantities of asbestos; institute a training program; and label asbestos-containing material.
As a result of these conditions, OSHA issued Parkway four willful citations, carrying $112,000 in proposed fines. OSHA issues a willful violation whenever an employer commits a violation with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.
"There's no good reason for needlessly exposing these employees to the hazards of asbestos, particularly since Parkway knew these work areas contained asbestos and also knew what it had to do to protect its employees," said Richard Mendelson, OSHA's area director for Queens and Manhattan.
Parkway was also issued five serious citations and fined an additional $5,000 for failing to provide appropriate hand, face and eye protection; respirator safety deficiencies, a lack of quick-drenching eyewashes; the absence of a hazard communication program; and failing to properly label and dispose of asbestos-contaminated material. OSHA issues a serious violation when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer know or should have known.
Continued exposure to asbestos can eventually result in serious diseases of the lungs and other organs. Detailed information on asbestos hazards, regulations and safeguards is available online at OSHA's Web site at www.osha.gov/SLTC/asbestos/index.html.
Parkway has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and fines to request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Queens District Office, telephone (718) 279-9060.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit OSHA's Web site at www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.