OSHA Nails Five Contractors for Hazards at Casino Construction Site

The contractors have been cited for inadequate safeguards to protect workers exposed to airborne concentrations of lead while performing torch cutting operations. The citations carry a total of $127,400 in proposed fines.

OSHA 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.

"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.

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