US Labor Department's OSHA cites manager of Nassau Veterans
Memorial Coliseum on Long Island for asbestos and other hazards
SMG @ Nassau Coliseum faces $88,000 in proposed fines
WESTBURY, N.Y. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited SMG @ Nassau Coliseum LLC, doing business as SMG, with 16 alleged serious violations of workplace health and safety standards. The company, which manages the day-to-day operations of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island, faces a total of $88,000 in proposed fines for asbestos, electrical, chemical and other hazards facing workers at the coliseum.
OSHA's Long Island Area Office opened an inspection in response to an employee complaint. Investigators found that maintenance workers and electricians were exposed to asbestos or materials potentially containing asbestos while working in various locations ¿ including the coliseum's ice plant, catwalks and a loading dock ¿ and that SMG did not take adequate steps to address the hazards. These conditions occurred in areas not accessible to the general public.
Specifically, SMG did not identify the presence, location and quantity of materials containing or potentially containing asbestos, use engineering controls and work practices to reduce exposure levels, ensure that all Class III asbestos work (such as repair and maintenance operations where materials presumed to contain asbestos are disturbed) was conducted in regulated areas, ensure proper respirator use, post warning signs and provide asbestos awareness training for workers.
"Inhalation of asbestos fibers can lead to lung disease and cancer. That's why it is imperative that this employer take effective action to identify and minimize asbestos hazards and ensure that workers are protected against exposure," said Anthony Ciuffo, OSHA's Long Island area director.
In addition, OSHA found inadequately lighted exit routes, inoperable emergency lighting, lights not guarded against damage, defective forklifts, unsecured liquefied petroleum gas containers, electrical circuits not locked out and unguarded open-sided floors. The company also failed to provide workers with bloodborne pathogen and chemical hazard communication training. Finally, the company failed to develop procedures and provide hardware to lock out power sources to prevent the unintended activation of machinery. 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.
"A key means of preventing hazards such as these is for employers to establish and maintain effective illness and injury prevention programs in which they work with their employees to proactively identify and eliminate hazards," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.
Asbestos is the name given to a group of naturally occurring minerals that are resistant to heat and corrosion. Asbestos has been used as insulation for pipes, floor tiles and building materials, and in vehicle brakes and clutches. Breathing asbestos fibers can cause a buildup of scar-like tissue in the lungs called asbestosis, which can result in a loss of lung function that often progresses to disability or death. Asbestos also causes lung cancer and other diseases such as mesothelioma of the pleura, which is a fatal malignant tumor of the membrane that lines the cavity of the lung or stomach. Detailed information on asbestos hazards and safeguards, including an asbestos self-inspection checklist, is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/asbestos/index.html.
SMG 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.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Long Island office in Westbury at 516-334-3344.
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 or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.