Region 2 News Release: 11-1744-NEW/BOS 2011-409
Dec. 19, 2011
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
US Labor Department's OSHA proposes more than $127,000 in fines against
5 contractors for hazards at casino construction site in Queens, NY
NEW YORK – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited five contractors for a total of 19 alleged serious violations of workplace health and safety standards at the former Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, N.Y., which is being converted into a casino. The citations carry a total of $127,400 in proposed fines.
Four contractors - Tutor Perini Corp. in Jamaica, N.Y.; Navillus Contracting Inc. in Manhattan; LVI Demolition Services Inc. in Everett, Mass.; and Manafort Bros. Inc. in Plainville, Conn. - have been cited for inadequate safeguards to protect workers exposed to airborne concentrations of lead while performing torch cutting operations. A fifth contractor, Blue Diamond Sheet Metal Inc. in Medford, N.Y., has been cited for failing to provide fall protection and related training.
OSHA's inspections identified instances during which employees were exposed to excess lead levels, engineering controls to reduce lead exposure levels were absent, initial exposure assessments were not conducted, proper respiratory protection was not provided to employees, protective clothing was not supplied, clean clothing change facilities and showers were missing, and biological monitoring results were not provided to employees.
"Chronic overexposure to lead may result in severe damage to workers' blood-forming, nervous, urinary and reproductive systems," said Kay Gee, OSHA's area director for Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn. "The most effective way to protect workers is to minimize their exposure through engineering controls, good work practices and training, as well as the use of personal protective clothing and equipment, including respirators when required. However, these safeguards can be compromised if they are not all used at all times on all job sites."
For the lead-related hazards, Tutor Perini Corp. has been cited for five serious violations with $35,000 in fines; Navillus Contracting Inc. for four serious violations with $21,000 in fines, LVI Demolition Services Inc. for four serious violations with $28,000 in fines and Manafort Bros. Inc. for four serious violations with $28,000 in fines. Blue Diamond Sheet Metal Inc. has been cited for two serious violations with $15,400 in fines for the fall-related hazards. 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.
Detailed information on lead hazards and safeguards in construction and demolition work is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/lead/index.html. Information on fall protection is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/index.html.
"One means of preventing workplace hazards such as these is for employers to implement effective illness and injury prevention programs in which they work continuously with their employees to identify and eliminate hazards," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.
The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/aqueduct-racetrack.pdf*.
Each employer 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), the agency's Manhattan Area Office at 212-620-3200 or its Queens District Office at 718-279-7060.
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.
* Accessibility Assistance Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.