Settlement Commits Developer to Enhance Safeguards for Employees at Psychiatric Center

DOL says the employer exposed workers to lead and asbestos dangers. DOL says the employer exposed workers to lead and asbestos dangers. The company said it is encouraged many of OSHA's proposals for asbestos and lead exposure have been changed from "not willful" citations and nearly all of its asbestos-related citations were vacated, and that Dover Greens will remain committed to the workers' safety and health as the project progresses.

According to its news release, the U.S. Department of Labor has reached a settlement agreement with Dover Greens LLC, formerly known as Olivet Management LLC, that commits the real estate development and management company to provide and maintain enhanced safeguards for workers renovating the former Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center in Dover Plains, N.Y.

OSHA cited the company for dozens of violations in 2014, including lead and asbestos hazards. Failing to implement preventative measures such as air sampling, respiratory protection, and dust control were cited. "Workers and their families were exposed to lead and asbestos and their attendant health hazards due to Olivet Management's failure to provide them with basic, required safeguards. This settlement obligates the company to do things correctly this time and take additional steps to ensure safe and healthful working conditions, or face the full original fine of $2.3 million," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.

Dover Greens posted a statement about the settlement on its website. The statement says the work at the center was directed and overseen by Dover Greens supervisors and "never included intentionally removing asbestos and lead-contaminated debris, according to company officials. Dover Greens maintains that no construction or remediation efforts requiring permitting commenced during that time, and that none of its cosmetic-related activities could reasonably expose any worker to harmful levels of any hazardous substance. Nevertheless, Dover Greens has settled with OSHA and has agreed to pay $700k as an investment to ensure future worker safety, including health and environmental awareness, for the restoration of the former State-owned facility. At a time when national and local economies are still weak, Dover Greens wants the project to be a catalyst to revitalize the Eastern Dutchess County with community-wide consensus and collaboration. Dover Greens looks forward to continuing to work for the revitalization of its local community through this project's efforts." The statement adds that, "As executive power is routinely wielded to target and obstruct groups trying to make a positive impact in local communities, Dover Greens is encouraged that many of OSHA's proposals for asbestos and lead exposure have been changed from 'willful' to 'not willful' citations, and nearly all of its asbestos-related citations were vacated altogether. Dover Greens will remain committed to the workers' safety and health as the project progresses."

"We are pleased to invest in future workers' health and safety through this settlement, which will be paid out over the next ten years," said company spokesman Terence Michos. "Thankfully, we see no further obstacles to unlocking the potential of this project for the entire Dover community."

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