OSHA settles with Dover Greens to pay $700,000 in asbestos cleanup violation fines

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NEW YORK – The U.S. Department
of Labor has reached a settlement agreement with Dover Greens LLC, formerly
known as Olivet Management LLC, which requires 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. The company was also fined $700,000.

The department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited
Olivet on March 31, 2014, for dozens of violations after the developer
exposed its own employees and employees of 13 contractors to lead and
asbestos hazards during renovation and cleanup operations.

By failing to implement preventative measures such as air sampling, respiratory
protection, and dust control, Olivet may have put some of those workers
at risk for long-term neurological and respiratory problems caused by
unsafe lead and asbestos exposure, said Labor Department spokesman Ted
Fitzgerald.

“OSHA settlements are not simply a matter of paying a penalty. OSHA
is always seeking for the employer to take steps to prevent the same types
of hazards from occurring in the future,” he said. “The purpose
of this is that it will enhance the comprehensive safeguards the company
has agreed to put in place, are designed to minimize or eliminate hazards
to workers, and that’s what we want. We have cited them for previous
violations. We want to do the job correctly going forward as they have
committed themselves to doing.”

The original fine levied was for $2.3 million.

Dover Greens has 10 years to pay the $700,000 fine with the balance of
more than $1.6 million held in abeyance and would become payable immediately
if they company fails to comply with the specific terms of the settlement.

“We are pleased to invest in future workers’ health and safety
through this settlement, which will be paid out over the next 10 years,”
said company spokesman Terence Michos. “Thankfully, we see no further
obstacles to unlocking the potential of this project for the entire Dover
community.”

A news release from the company on Monday said the work, “which
was directed and overseen by Dover Greens supervisors, never included
intentionally removing asbestos and lead-contaminated debris. Company
officials maintain that no construction or remediation efforts requiring
permitting commenced during that time, “and that none of its cosmetic-related
activities could reasonable expose any worker to harmful levels of any
hazardous substance.”

Dover Greens plans to develop Olivet University on the former psychiatric
center property and offer some courses as approved by the state Education
Department.