Complying for Safety Staff Rules and Regulations

In addition to their boards and managing agents, co-op and condo communities depend on the many workers who take care of building maintenance and residents’ needs. Building staff, maintenance workers, the super, and other employees are all essential to maintaining a well-run building. At the same time, these workers have the right to do their jobs in a safe environment, in a building that abides by local, state and federal laws. With that in mind, boards and managing agents must stay abreast of all relevant rules and regulations to ensure a safe working environment for their staff members.

OSHA and the Union

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is the primary agency charged with creating regulations, setting standards and enforcing compliance when it comes to worker safety.

“The primary [worker safety] statues are OSHA regulations,” says Matthew Persanis, a partner with Elefante & Persanis, LLP, a labor, employment and real estate law firm in Scarsdale who is also labor counsel to the Building Realty Institute and many other employer associations. “If a building complies with OSHA regulations, they are complying with what they need to.”

According to the OSHA website (www.osha.gov), “OSHA creates and enforces regulatory standards that require certain precautions to be taken in order to ensure the safety and health of workers.” The tasks maintenance workers perform are covered by several of these standards. More information regarding these standards as well as other assistance can be found on OSHA’s website, including a wealth of pages on a wide array of safety and health topics pages with free information to show employers and employees how to stay safe and healthy on the job.

“It’s also important to note that OSHA offers free, confidential onsite safety and health consultation services,” says an OSHA spokesperson. More information is available at www.osha. gov/dcsp/smallbusiness/consult.html

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2 Comments

  • We can only access our floor ( i.e.level 1) via an elevator used for grocery carts, pet transport, trash pickup by staff, freight, etc. There are two passenger-only elevators to the lobby which require use of stairs. This "freight" elevator can be tied up for a variety of reasons. However, there are no indicators at either of the two underground garage levels for residents to see the location of the elevator. Neither is there a means for contacting the front desk for assistance. Our condo has recently spent monies in excess of $100,000 for cosmetic changes. Our repeated request of the board to install floor indicators and a phone to reach the 24x7 front desk has been ignored. Is there an agency who can help us correct this problem?
  • My husband works in a residential building that was flooded during Hurricane Sandy. He is one of two porters in the building is involved in the cleanup of a flooded basement and rental property under the building he is employed at. He has been moved from his regular duties to assist in the cleanup without proper protective gear or inform of the potential hazards of flood remediation. My questions are: Should the building management have a professional cleaning crew come in? What are his rights and obligations to perform this functions without being properly informed of hazards (OSHA) or provided with proper protective equipment (OSHA)? He's worked for two days in this environment and is already coughing.