OSHA never told city about “impalement hazards” at W’burg yeshiva site: report

Despite hazards, construction continued on BK project
June 28, 2016 11:58AM

638 Bedford in Williamsburg

638 Bedford in Williamsburg

Construction of a Brooklyn yeshiva with dozens of hazardous safety violations continued for weeks – thanks to poor communication between federal inspectors and the city’s Department of Buildings.

Inspectors from the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration randomly inspected Yeshiva Kehilath Yakov, an under-construction school at 638 Bedford Avenue, on June 3, when they identified 21 violations, DNAinfo reported.The catch? OSHA notified the yeshiva of the violations and even issued a press release, but the agency never told the DOB, which could have shut down work at the hazardous site. Violations ranged from no fall protection around elevator shafts to open holes to “impalement hazards.”

The DOB learned of the violations last week after a DNAinfo reported contacted the agency.

During its own inspection, the city agency found two dozen violations and immediately issued a stop-work order on the project. It also sent inspectors to two other projects owned by Yeshiva Kehilath Yakov, whose managers are David Oberlander and Joseph Gold, according to building permits.

An OSHA spokesman said it’s not the agency’s job to loop in the city, and that OSHA’s primary responsibility is to inspect for worker safety issues.

“OSHA is the agency which has the primary responsibility for inspecting for worker safety and does not typically share information about programmed inspections with third parties,” the spokesman said.

But the federal agency’s failure to communicate is “really disconcerting,” worker safety advocate Charlene Obernauer, director of the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, was quoted as saying. [DNAinfo] – E.B. Solomont