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OSHA Fines Celebrated NYC Performing Arts Theater $51,000

As an employer, it is imperative to take the necessary steps to ensure that the work environment for all employees is free from potential health and safety hazards. Why? A proactive approach toward employee safety can prevent potentially debilitating work injuries, maintain production, avoid the regular incurrence of legal fees and prevent large fines.

Unfortunately, many employers often neglect to take these steps and, as a result, suffer the aforementioned consequences.

To illustrate, the renowned David H. Koch Theater - part of the world-famous Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in Manhattan - was recently fined $51,000 by the United States Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for multiple violations of health and safety standards that could cause serious or potentially fatal work injuries.

Specifically, OSHA uncovered the following during a 2010 inspection:

  • Employees of the theater were not informed of potential asbestos-related health hazards (asbestos-containing and possible asbestos-containing materials were found in the theater's promenade area and electrical closets)
  • A portable fire extinguisher was not properly mounted
  • An exit door could not be opened
  • An insufficient degree of guardrail protection to keep employees from falling and/or being crushed by the rising and descending of the stage
  • Improper use of temporary wiring, instead of permanent wiring, in the promenade area

Since OSHA inspectors discovered similar conditions regarding the asbestos, fire extinguisher and sealed door during a 2009 inspection, the theater was issued four "repeat citations" for a total of $45,000.

(Federal law dictates that employers may be issued a repeat citation if they have been cited for the exact same or similar violation of workplace orders, rules, regulations or standards over the last five years.)

Regarding the stage and temporary wiring violations, OSHA issued three "serious citations" for a total of $6,000.

(OSHA defines a serious citation as one where "there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.")

The David H. Koch Theater was given 15 days from the issuance of the citations to address the violations.

"The recurrence of these conditions is disturbing," said OSHA's Manhattan area director Kay Gee. "For the health and safety of its employees as well as outside contractors, the theater must take effective steps to identify and permanently eliminate these and other hazards identified during this latest OSHA inspection."

Stay tuned for further developments in the area of workers' compensation defense law ...

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Related Resources:

US Labor Department's OSHA Proposes $51,000 in Fines Against David H. Koch Theater in New York for Asbestos, Fall and Crushing Hazards (U.S. Department of Labor)

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