MTA’s personal ‘deep cleaners’ skirt safety requirements

by Lionel Casey

Eight-foot flames shot out from a fuel-powered generator powering excessive-pressure cleaning hoses at a Brooklyn subway station final week — an instance of protection dangers and cut corners on the MTA’s “deep cleaning” of subway stations this is part of the Subway Action Plan.

Workers scrambled to close off the generator, certainly, one of six installations at the eastbound platform at the Clinton-Washington station at the Cline in Clinton Hill in the coincidence witnessed Tuesday by using the Daily News.

Crews have been calm as they positioned out the fireplace — the generators had caught fireplace before, at some point of station cleaning, people said.

The accident is an instance of the protection dangers and reduces corners which have include the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s “deep cleansing” application paid for by way of the $836 million Subway Action Plan.

The contractor, WRS Environmental Services, is considered one of 21 outside companies commissioned with the aid of the MTA to aggressively smooth 106 stations this 12 months.

The corporation has dedicated $200 million of its Subway Action Plan cash to the station and educates automobile cleanings. The spending includes $sixteen million to hire out of doors corporations to aggressively scrub stations.

The decision to herald outdoor cleansing companies almost sparked a union wood earlier this year. Transport Workers Union Local one hundred and MTA bosses got here to a compromise: the agency may want to bring in outside crews to intensely easy the batch of stations and union employees would be on the web page for the cleanings to research new strategies.

MTA spokesman Max Young stated the paintings aimed to get stations to a point of cleanliness that during-residence crews ought to maintain moving forward.

“Besides cleaning the stations thru the Subway Action Plan, the MTA has begun to contain a number of the unbiased contractors’ method and techniques so we are able to beef up this painting every few days and preserve these stations easy,” Young said.

But the Daily News located that a number of the manner and techniques of the one skirt simple safety requirements.

Sixteen people wiped clean the Clinton-Washington station remaining week — compared to a few or four employees normally assigned to the MTA’s unionized cell wash force.

The contractors scrubbed regions like light fixtures and vents, wherein in-residence crews usually do no longer hit.

Those people were the usage of heavy obligation “control” chemicals to complete the easy. The fumes from the solvent blended with the acute exhaust from the fuel bills and the vapor from warm, pressurized water. The mixture made the underground air tough to respire.

Workers were wearing minimum protecting equipment. Some didn’t have a face mask.

Gov. Cuomo has repeatedly chided the MTA’s in-house cleaners over the past six months, alleging they simplest use Tide detergent to easy the subway stations.

The governor is correct while he says that that Local 100 employees use detergent — Procter & Gamble sells a heavy-obligation model of Tide to smooth flooring and commercial web sites.

But the workers additionally use bleach answers, energy washers, scrub brushes and, in a few cases, the equal types of Citrol degreasing answers the personal groups use, union officials say.

WRS government Mike Rodgers repeated Cuomo’s use of the Tide jibe remaining week. Rodgers hopes to get more work from the agency.

“Nonunion contractors are a virus to the safety of the device,” said TWU International President John Samuelsen. “We’ll easy with any chemical they problem us to clean with so long as we will do it in a secure manner.”

Samuelsen thinks the MTA got the fast quit of the address the non-public contractors and called the flow to hire them a “political stunt.”

Outside contractors have also been brought into subway train renovation centers to easy motors inside and out.

FleetWash, the contractor hired to do outdoors cleaning, uses robust chemical compounds that aren’t allowed to be dumped into city sewers. FleetWash pump the runoff from its paintings returned into waste tanks in their vans and hauls it off for disposal.

The employer leaves the outdoor of subway motors, roughly 3,000 to date, glowing and vibrant. They do that by way of using an excessive-powered stress washing machine to blast them with a pretty focused phosphoric acid answer, which over the years can corrode the vehicles’ chrome steel exteriors.

“It has a very excessive acid content material,” a high ranking MTA source said of FleetWash’s cleansing aggregate. “It’s not meant to be used frequently.”

The MTA has train automobile washing facilities at eight of its subway depots that automatically blast vehicles with water and cleaning answers, but are unable to absolutely cast off years of constructed up rust and dirt.

FleetWash CEO Anthony DiGiovanni said the remedy has to be applied to subway automobiles every few months. The employer’s contract expires in early July.

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