OSHA has cited Volunteers of America–Greater New York Inc. for 12 alleged serious violations of workplace safety and health standards at its New York City shelter facility and administrative offices. The social service agency faces a total of $63,000 in proposed fines following OSHA inspections conducted after an employee fell while closing a rooftop skylight.

"The citations address various fall, electrical, chemical and exit access hazards encountered by maintenance, housekeeping and kitchen workers in the course of their duties," said Kay Gee, OSHA's Manhattan area director.

OSHA found that maintenance employees whose duties involved opening and closing rooftop skylights were exposed to falls due to the lack of access stairs between flat and sloped roofs atop the building. Other hazards identified during OSHA's inspections included a too-narrow emergency exit aisle in the boiler room; inadequately maintained exit doors and an emergency stairway; unmounted, uncharged and uninspected fire extinguishers; no written chemical hazard communication program for employees working with hazardous chemicals; no workplace hazard assessment to determine the need for personal protective equipment; and electrical hazards from frayed power cords, ungrounded electrical equipment and failing to de-energize a live electrical circuit before working on it.

"One means of preventing hazards such as these is for employers to establish an injury and illness prevention program through which workers and management jointly work to identify and eliminate hazardous conditions on a continual basis," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.