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State inspectors find hazards in police building



Published: Tue, September 17, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



EDITOR'S NOTE: This story did not run in its entirety in some editions Monday.

By TIM YOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

HUBBARD -- A state safety inspection of the city police headquarters has resulted in 18 findings against the city -- 14 of them termed serious.

The findings by the Ohio Department of Commerce's Division of Labor and Workers Safety stem from a July 16 inspection requested by police.

A commerce department spokesman said that the survey identifies hazards and that there is no deadline for correcting them, except that they be abated in a "timely manner."

A second inspection by the commerce department's Public Employment Risk Reduction Program found carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and humidity levels in the police station at below permissible exposure limits.

The inspections were sought by acting Police Chief Kenneth Oyler and Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 132.

Oyler said he sent copies of the reports to Robert Paterniti, city safety director, and Councilman Richard Keenan, D-4th, chairman of council's safety committee.

A third inspection of the structure -- built in 1870 -- detected eight types of mold, including one that can cause death if enough is inhaled. The city is awaiting results of air sampling to determine the levels of mold spores inside the building, and before deciding what to do.

Electrocution risk

Some of the findings of the Division of Labor and Workers Safety can, if not corrected, result in the electrocution of workers.

For example, electrical conduit is corroded and broken. Potentially the deficiency can cause electrical shock, burns and electrocution.

Other dangerous findings include outlets and extension cords not grounded and the junction boxes and outlets not covered.

In six areas, extension cords were used rather than permanent wiring; and sections of ceiling were collapsing in the weapons locker and evidence rooms.

Other findings were not serious; for instance, the chief's office and evidence and hot water tank location were not kept clean and orderly.

Also, passageways were not kept free of protruding nails, splinters and loose boards and carpet that could cause people to trip.

"It's not grounded, it's overloaded and not up to code," Paterniti said the electrical inspection showed. "That was the bottom line."

If the headquarters must close, Paterniti said, dispatching will be moved to the Hubbard Township police station with other police activities moved into the city administration building, perhaps the senior citizens center.

If that's the case, the safety director said he recommends a levy issue be placed on the ballot to construct a new building.

Preliminary costs

Paterniti said preliminary estimates show it will cost $500,000 to refurbish the existing building and a similar amount to remodel the senior citizens center.

The second inspection by the state's Department of Commerce was completed July 10 on various aspects of the air, finding them within recommended limits.

Carbon dioxide levels are used as an indicator of proper fresh air exchange into the building from the outside.

Low humidity promotes respiratory irritation and allows dust and other airborne particles to adhere to surfaces more readily. High humidity can cause the germination of mold and fungal spores.

Carbon monoxide levels are immediately dangerous to life and health. Acute symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches and nausea.

yovich@vindy.com




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