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Workplace Safety Violations Plague Second Ave. Subway

Upper East Side residents have long been vocal about the inconvenience caused by the construction of the Second Avenue subway. However, it turns out that the construction project is more than just an irritant – it’s dangerous for both residents and workers and has been the site of numerous workplace safety violations and accidents that were previously unreported.

A New York Daily News investigation has found that the project has been plagued by dangerous conditions and poor oversight. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has issued 18 safety violations and levied $61,000 in fines. There are three additional investigations pending that could result in additional fines and violations.

Some of the accidents and workplace safety problems on this huge project include:

  • Hitting a live gas line
  • Entering a blast site before it was cleared
  • Falling from heights
  • Exposing workers to unsafe levels of silica because of inadequate safety equipment
  • Failing to repair loose rocks
  • Dumping contaminated soil
  • Blasting mistakes
  • Blowing out windows
  • Failing to develop and implement a safety program
  • Getting stuck in quicksand
  • Stonewalling OSHA investigators after reportable incidents
  • Failing to wear required harnesses

What’s worse, many of these incidents went unreported in violation of federal law. However, the MTA, the agency overseeing the work, has reportedly begun to clamp down on subcontractors in order to improve the project’s safety record. A spokesperson acknowledged that stricter oversight was needed.

Source: New York Daily News, “EXCLUSIVE: Second Avenue subway plagued with dangerous conditions and safety violations,” Jun. 2, 1013.